Timely Warning: Police investigating assaults on taxi passengers

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(The following announcement is being shared as a public service to broaden its distribution. Source: IowaNow by University of Iowa Police, 2014.02.17 | 12:00 PM.)

The Iowa City Police Department is currently investigating three sexual assaults with adult female victims while they were passengers in taxi cabs. ICPD released the following information:

The first incident was reported to the Iowa City Police Department on January 15, 2014, at 2:55 a.m. In this incident the victim was picked up by an unknown cab company in the downtown area and requested a ride to the southeast side of town. Upon arrival at the destination the victim reports that the driver of the cab made unwanted sexual advances toward her. The victim was able to escape the cab without injury and reported the matter to authorities. The suspect in this incident was described as a middle aged non-white male.

The second incident was reported to the Iowa City Police Department on January 25, 2014, at 4:17 a.m. In this incident the victim was picked up after being solicited by an unknown cab company in the downtown area and made arrangements to be taken to the south side of the downtown area. While driving towards the destination the cab driver pulled off of the roadway and made unwanted sexual advances towards the victim. The victim was able to escape the cab without injury and reported the matter to authorities. The suspect in this incident was described as a middle aged non-white male.

The third incident was reported to the Iowa City Police Department on February 16, 2014, at 12:30 a.m. In this incident the victim states that she was picked up by an American Taxi Cab in the downtown area and requested a ride to the southeast side of town. While driving towards the destination the cab driver pulled off of the roadway and made unwanted sexual advances towards the victim. The victim was able to escape the cab without injury and reported the matter to authorities. The suspect in this incident was described as a non-white male.

At the time the third victim entered the cab she observed a college aged white male passenger also in the van. This subject was dropped off by the cab company near the area of Iowa and Dodge between 11:30 p.m. on February 15 and midnight on February 16, 2014 prior to the assault. The Iowa City Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying this person.

In response to this incident the University of Iowa Police is providing the following information:

  • Remember when you are using a taxi service you are still getting in a car with a stranger. You should remain cautious, especially if you are in the taxi alone.
  • Before getting in the taxi try to remember a description of the car you get into, including color, make, and model. A picture of the vehicle or license plate could be taken on a cell phone or you could send a text message to a friend with this information prior to getting in the taxi.
  • When in the taxi, locate the driver’s name on the taxi license. The card must be prominently displayed and visible to all passenger seats, and be at least eight and one-half inches (8 1/2″) in width and five and one-half inches (5 1/2″) in height.
  • You should have immediate access to your cell phone and be prepared to call 911 if you feel threatened or concerned in any way. Do not be afraid to call 911 for assistance. That is why 911 exists, even if you are intoxicated or impaired.
  • The UI Police offer NITE RIDE service to females. For more information, see http://police.uiowa.edu/services/nite-ride/.

Iowa City Area Crime Stoppers is offering up to a $1,000 cash reward for information leading to the arrest of this suspect. Anyone with information about this crime is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 319-358-TIPS (8477). All calls are held in strict confidence and anonymity is guaranteed. Individuals providing information do not have to reveal their identity to collect a reward.

This information is being released in accordance with the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their respective campuses, including timely warnings of crimes that may represent a threat to the safety of students or employees.

Contacts

David Visin, UI Department of Public Safety, 319-335-5027 or email to dave-visin@uiowa.edu.
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