Fake Uber driver charged with kidnapping in U.S.

A university student was found unconscious in the backseat

An Alabama man is charged with kidnapping by pretending to be an Uber driver to pick up a university student who was found unconscious in the back seat of his car, police said Monday.

Investigators found multiple images on the driver’s cellphone of at least one other college-aged woman who appeared unconscious in the vehicle, said Capt. Gary Hood, commander of the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit.

Tommy Beard, 61, was released on bond Friday on a first-degree kidnapping charge, court records show. The records don’t list an attorney for him, and calls to a phone number listed for him in those records went unanswered.

“It’s alarming, absolutely,” Hood said.

READ MORE: Airports feared losing revenue to Uber and Lyft. Here’s what happened.

“He had a fake Uber sign that he bought online, and he admitted that he wasn’t an Uber driver,” Hood added.

Various Uber decals and lights for vehicles — many featuring the Uber logo — were available Monday on Amazon.com. A representative for Amazon said late Monday she was looking into the matter.

Uber LED signs were also available Monday through Walmart.com. Walmart representatives didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Hood said Beard picked up the 22-year-old woman near the University of Alabama campus and drove her about 7 miles (11 kilometres) away. A deputy noticed a car alongside the road and stopped to investigate, which led to his arrest March 2. Court records say the woman remembers being at a bar in Tuscaloosa but nothing else until the deputy woke her up.

A loaded handgun was found in Beard’s vehicle, but he had a legal permit for it, Hood said.

READ MORE: Proposed class action against Uber can proceed

Hood advises Uber users to arrange their rides through the company’s app, since it has certain safety features built-in. Users are given the driver’s name and a description of the vehicle before they get inside, for instance.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

First Terrace Speedway race day of the year

The annual Mother’s Day Season Opening Races brought in crowds

Concerns over democracy as Senate committee votes to nix oil tanker ban

Critics of the Senate’s recommendation to kill Bill C-48 say it goes against popular will

Northwest Fire Centre open burn ban lifted

Recent rain, cooler temperatures have lowered the region’s fire risk

Telkwa pot plant application passes review

Cannabis company claims new Health Canada regulations are working in its favour

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Canadian killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Most Read