Robbers posing as ride share drivers on North Side, police say

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Police Department is warning people who use popular ride share apps that there are criminals posing as drivers.

Police are investigating six robberies that happened after people hailed ride-share cars, and got into the wrong cars only to become victims of crimes. The incidents have been reported in the city’s River North neighborhood.

“You can see like the history. You can see the ride history and everything,” Michael Iberklied, ride share passenger, said.

Iberklied is a frequent user of ride share apps like Uber and Lyft.

“I use it at least four or five times a week. It’s so convenient, plus you have all the information for the driver, you know their rating, so it’s just practical,” he said.

But he learned that along with cost and convenience, there is also crime.

Chicago police have issued a community alert about people posing as ride share drivers, picking up passengers and robbing them at gunpoint.

“It’s concerning that it’s happening. I feel like it’s best to double check now that I know this is happening. But it’s definitely concerning that people are taking advantage of people who are out there just trying to have a good time,” Iberklied said.

At least six incidents have been reported recently on the busy bar-lined streets of River North and Lincoln Park and all of the robberies happened in the early morning hours.

“It terrifies me, so it’s another thing I have to worry about and I live next door,” Annette Gonzalez, ride share passenger, said.

Gonzalez says she’ll make sure to double check that the driver and the car she’s getting into actually match the one the app sent to her.

“I ask them what their name is,* then they know mine to verify, so you’ve just got to be on your game, I guess,” Gonzalez said.

The latest incident happened in the 300 block of West Erie. Police said the suspects don’t always follow the same M.O. In one case they assaulted a victim as she was walking, then took her property.

One ride share passenger, Sabina Adamski said she uses ride sharing apps all the time, and now will have her guard up, once she puts the phone down.

“People need to be a little more vigilant about getting into Ubers and stuff,” she said.

Chicago police have only vague descriptions of the suspects but said there are at least two different women and one man posing as ride share drivers.

Officers from the police department's Area Central Bureau of Detectives are investigating but so far have made no arrests.