Burglary detectives at the LAPD’s Hollywood station Friday were investigating a series of thefts targeting rideshare drivers using what police call “a new method” of stealing victims’ earnings.
“The suspects request a ride through the app and when they enter the vehicle, trick the victims into giving them their cell phones,” according to a Los Angeles Police Department statement. “Most commonly this ruse involves switching the passenger’s destination. The suspects then access the driver’s rideshare account, manipulate the driver’s settings and transfer any stored cash amount into a newly entered bank account. In some cases, the suspect accesses other bank applications and withdraw(s) money from those accounts, as well.”
The thefts have occurred over the past six weeks across the city, according to investigators who are working to “to obtain information from various rideshare companies to identify the people involved,” the LAPD reported. In the meantime, drivers should be extremely careful about letting any passengers access their phones, police said.
Anyone with information about such thefts was urged to call LAPD Burglary Detective Patrick Aluotto at 213-972-2929. After hours and on weekends, calls should be directed to 877-LAPD-24-7.
Anonymous tips can be submitted through Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS or lacrimestoppers.org.