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Arrest in White Center rape investigation involving fake rideshare driver

The King County Sheriff's Office said a man accused of imitating a rideshare driver turned himself in after a woman accused him of rape in White Center last December.
Credit: KCSO

KING COUNTY, Wash. — The King County Sheriff's office reports a man has turned himself in after a White Center rape investigation from December.  

The sheriff's office reports a family member of the suspect recognized him as a person of interest following media coverage. The 34-year-old man turned himself in and was booked into King County Jail for investigation of rape. 

The December incident involved a woman getting into a vehicle with a man posing as a rideshare driver. 

According to the King County Sheriff's Office, the woman was raped in the vehicle before the man drove her home. 

"The victim in this case, she was out that night in Ballard at a bar," said King County Sgt. Ryan Abbott. The bar is near NW 51st Street and Ballard Avenue. 

"She decided it was time to go home. Her phone was almost dead so she couldn't use her apps. She had a friend order her a rideshare, and she went outside to attempt to find it," said Abbott.

The incident began around 12:15 a.m. on December 16, 2018. There was a line of cars waiting curbside, and she went up to several windows asking if they were her ride.  

"Finally, one of the guys said yes, I am, go ahead and get in," Abbott explained.

Detectives believe the man lied about being the driver. Instead of taking the woman home, detectives said the man took her to the 11400 block of 5th Avenue South in White Center.

"He raped her in the car. After that he was actually able to get her address and he drove her home," said Abbott. 

In surveillance video, the man was seen holding the woman's keys. He unlocked the door and handed over her cell phone. 

"They have been working on multiple search warrants to try to determine if this guy actually worked for a rideshare program, and so far we determined he did not," Abbott said.

Uber suggests that before you start a trip, check to see if it's the right driver and correct car. You need to be sure the make, model and license plate match the information in the Uber app.

The driver should know your name as well.

Anyone with more information is asked to call the King County Sheriff's Office at 206-296-3311.

See rideshare safety tips: