MPD warns Lyft, Uber drivers to be alert after numerous carjackings

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After numerous carjackings of Uber and Lyft drivers, the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) has issued a citywide alert to warn drivers and passengers to be on alert.

The MPD has tracked a rash of Uber and Lyft drivers in Minneapolis being targeted by thieves, with 40 such incidents being reported since mid-August, and 12 in just the last seven days.

Multiple incidents include some or all the following actions:

  • A request for service is made from a stolen phone.
  • An individual meets the rideshare driver and asks them to wait a few minutes.
  • A group of armed individuals may arrive in one or more stolen vehicles and block the exit of the ride share driver.
  • The group of armed individuals surround the rideshare vehicle, demand the driver to exit the vehicle, and take the driver’s wallet, phone, and phone security code.
  • Some drivers have been assaulted, including being pistol-whipped.
  • The group of armed individuals leaves in the vehicles they arrived in and take the ride-share vehicle, as well.
  • Vehicles used by the suspects are typically listed as stolen and/or have stolen plates or no plates.

The MPD is encouraging everyone to stay alert—especially rideshare drivers—and recommends the following actions:

For rideshare Drivers:

  • Stay aware of your surroundings, even when in a locked vehicle.
  • Avoid using your phone for more than a couple of seconds.
  • Be extra cautious if asked to wait for the customer(s).
  • If you are not in a populated area with visible pedestrian and vehicle traffic, leave immediately if you see one or more vehicles or individuals approaching nearby.

If you become the victim of this type of crime:

  • Give up the vehicle—do not fight to keep the car.
  • If you are confronted by an assailant(s), remain calm, do not argue.
  • Along with a description of the suspect(s), try to remember any unique physical characteristics (scars, limp, acne, teeth, manner of speech, etc…).
  • Never pursue fleeing assailants—provide information and suspect(s) descriptions to responding officers.
  •  If video surveillance equipment is available, please save a copy of the incident for investigating detectives.
  • If approached by a witness to the incident, request contact information.
  • Contact 911 immediately and remain on the scene, if possible.

For residents:

  • Call 911 immediately if you witness the elements of the crime(s) described above.
  • Be sure to pay attention to specific details like license plates, vehicle damage, suspect(s) descriptions, and direction of travel. Provide this information to responding officers.
  • If you have video surveillance, provide a copy, or contact information to the police.
  • If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers: crimestoppersmn.org or 1-800-222-8477.
  • For further information go here.

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