CHICAGO — Robbers targeting rideshare passengers picked up multiple people waiting for late-night rides in the Old Town, River North and Gold Coast areas in recent weeks, according to Chicago police.
The most recent incident targeted a passenger waiting for a ride on the 400 block of West Ontario Street in the early morning hours of January 3. Once they mistakenly get into the offenders' vehicle, police say rideshare customers find themselves in the car with multiple assailants who strong-arm them by grabbing their wallet or purse.
Detectives say the alleged offenders would then use the victims' credit cards to make fraudulent purchases or to transfer money from their bank accounts.
River North hairstylist Gino DeFranco stunned to hear the news with one of the robberies happening a block from his salon.
“You have to be more careful. Don’t just get into any car," DeFranco said.
Despite his best efforts, Uber driver Joseph Matthews says he's seen users get into the wrong vehicle.
“Sometimes if the car matches the same description. But you have to check the license plate,” he said.
In a community alert, the Chicago Police Department said similar incidents occurred December 22 on the 100 block of West Division Street, December 28 on the 100 block of West Elm Street and December 28 on the 1500 block of North Wells Street. All the incidents occurred in the early-morning hours.
While police did not provide details as to how the victims manage to break free from the offenders, but there are no reports of any serious injuries as a result of these robberies.
Police advise rideshare drivers to always verify the rideshare vehicle by checking the license plate.