The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating an alleged attempted kidnapping of a former USC student by someone posing as a Uber driver on Tuesday, according to DPS Assistant Chief David Carlisle. The alleged incident occurred at 2:35 p.m., according to an email alert sent by DPS, at the intersection of 23rd Street and Flower Street, close to the Lorenzo.
According to the DPS report, the suspect was posing as an Uber driver and "attempted to trick her into getting into his vehicle" while she was waiting for her Lyft near the Lorenzo.
A Lorenzo security guard standing at the intersection when the incident was reported said he did not witness any situation similar to what was logged. The officer's manager reviewed security footage covering that side of the building at the time of the report and did not see anything resembling the alleged incident.
Carlisle said that the case is still undergoing initial investigation. "Our detectives, as we speak, are working with LAPD Newton Division detectives, they have the jurisdiction at the Lorenzo," he said. "We're also speaking to Lorenzo security to see what evidence we can gather to try to determine what, in fact, actually occurred."
LAPD Media Relations did not have any information on the alleged incident when Annenberg Media contacted them at 6:10 p.m. Wednesday. The Newton Division detectives could not be reached.
According to Carlisle, DPS has not received similar incident reports in the past. Uber's partnership with the university has been working sufficiently, Carlisle said, with occasional reports of buzzed driving and "mutual flirtation that had gone out of control." The system was originally set in place to ensure students felt safe leaving campus at night.
Senior Melanie Heyside expressed concern about the alleged incident.
"Students are constantly taking Ubers around campus," Heyside said. "It's so easy to get things mixed up, especially if they're in a carpool or there's multiple people in the car."
Carlisle advises students using Uber and similar ride-sharing services to travel with friends. He also recommends that students call their drivers at busy intersections, including the gates on campus.
If you're alone when you call a ride share service, Carlisle said to match the car to the photo in the app, as well as the license plate and the driver photo.
Staff Reporter Grace DeWitt also contributed to this report.