LAPD Arrests Man Who Allegedly Posed as an Uber Driver to Kidnap, Sexually Assault Woman
Forensic evidence helped detectives track down Dartanyun Smith, who was arrested Saturday at his home in South Los Angeles
Los Angeles police have arrested a 39-year-old man they say posed as an Uber driver to kidnap and sexually assault a young woman, PEOPLE confirms.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the city’s Chief of Police, Charlie Beck, announced the arrest of Dartanyun Smith during a press conference Monday morning.
According to police, Smith’s alleged victim was standing in the Westlake section of Los Angeles the morning of April 3, waiting for an Uber car, when a man driving an SUV drove up to where she was.
The driver, police allege, asked the unidentified woman if she was waiting for the popular car service. When she told him she was, he allegedly told her he was her appointed driver.
Beck claims Smith drove the woman for about two blocks before stopping the car.
“He sexually assaulted her,” Beck told reporters, and “choked her unconscious at least three times.”
Smith’s alleged victim began screaming for help, according to police. Those cries were heard by the residents of nearby homes, who called 911.
Officers responded to the scene, listened for Smith’s victim’s screams, and soon found his vehicle. As they approached the car, they could see Smith allegedly assaulting the woman in the backseat.
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Police attempted to open the vehicle’s doors, only to find them locked. Using their batons, they smashed out one of the car’s windows.
At that point, police say, Smith returned to the driver’s seat, and sped off.
Beck claimed that during the escape attempt, the SUV’s door nearly struck a police officer, who responded by firing a single bullet into the car. The bullet did not strike Smith and also missed his alleged victim.
Following a brief pursuit, police lost sight of the vehicle but eventually found Smith’s accuser, who told cops she had been pushed out of the SUV.
Forensic evidence collected from the victim helped officers identify Smith, who was arrested Saturday at his home in South Los Angeles.
Charged with single counts of rape and kidnapping, Smith is being held on $3.1 million bail, according to court records.