Lyft Driver Arrested for Alleged Kidnapping and Rape of Rider
Police are asking additional victims to come forward to help with the investigation.
Police in California have arrested Octavio Alvarez Gomez, a 37-year-old ride-hailing operator for the alleged sexual assault of a woman he picked up from a pub while driving for Lyft, reports local news station KTLA. Gomes is currently being held on a bail set at more than $2.2 million.
According to a statement from the Los Angeles Police Department, Gomez picked up the victim shortly after 10:00 p.m. last week when she summoned a ride from a Van Nuys pub to take her home for the evening. While in the area of the rider's residence, Gomez allegedly sexually assaulted the woman before she was able to exit the vehicle.
The victim reported the assault to the LAPD who subsequently identified Gomez as her attacker. After conducting a surveillance operation, the LAPD arrested Gomez, accused on a myriad of charges that include rape, felony sexual battery, sexual penetration with a foreign object, as well as kidnapping with the intent to commit a sexual assault.
"The allegations described are truly horrific and we have reached out to the passenger to extend our full support," said a spokeswoman for Lyft in a statement to ABC7. "From day one, the safety of our community has been our number one priority. As soon as we received this information we deactivated the driver and we stand ready to assist law enforcement with their investigation."
According to police, although Gomez was arrested while he was driving for Lyft, he also operated as a contractor with Uber. Lyft confirmed in a statement that Gomez has been removed from accessing Lyft's services. A spokesperson from Uber told The Drive that it had no driver on file matching Gomez's name.
Investigators with the Los Angeles Police Department are asking that any additional victims come forward to assist with their investigation.