The arrest of an Uber driver for the alleged kidnap of a woman in Los Angeles has prompted renewed fears regarding the safety of traveling in vehicles hired through the popular car service company.
Los Angeles police said Tuesday that Frederick Dencer, 32, was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping a 26-year-old woman with the intent to sexually assault her, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The woman, said to have been intoxicated, had reportedly been at a West Hollywood nightclub on Sunday when a valet asked Dencer to drive her home.
Dencer, however, "took advantage of the situation and drove her to a cheap motel, which he had visited before, and carried her into the room,” Lt. Paul Vernon of the LAPD said in a statement. “He slept right in the room. When she awoke, he let her leave, though he asked her to stay, according to the victim.”
The woman rejected his advances and walked to a nearby convenience store where she called 911.
In a statement Tuesday, Uber said it had suspended Dencer's account and vowed to work closely with authorities in their ongoing investigation of the incident.
The company added that "the facts are unknown at this stage and it’s certainly unclear that this is an Uber-related incident, as the driver in question was not logged in, connected to or operating on the platform at the time," per KTLA.
This isn't the first time Uber -- an on-demand car service that allows people to request private drivers through a mobile app -- has come under scrutiny over safety concerns.
Last March, an Uber driver in D.C. was accused of rape, and in November, a San Francisco man claimed that he had been assaulted by an Uber driver who had hurled "racist and homophobic slurs" at him.
NBC Chicago reported earlier this year that a woman was suing Uber after one of the company's drivers allegedly fondled her "legs, groin and breasts." The woman said the driver refused to let her get out of the car and “begged her” to not tell anyone about the harassment.
"Too many female Uber customers face harassment and unwanted advancements or comments from drivers," wrote the Daily Beast's Olivia Nuzzi in a March post about the potential dangers of using ride-share services like Uber.
"Ride-share services are chock-full of dangers, especially gaps in insurance and poorly-conducted third-party background checks,” a spokesperson for Who’s Driving You, a public safety initiative that monitors Uber and other similar transportation services, told The Daily Beast.