Uber driver arrested for taking drunk woman to Panorama City motel room

PANORAMA CITY, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- An Uber ride-share driver was arrested Monday for kidnap for the purpose of sexual assault after a woman woke up in a motel room with him following a night of drinking. No allegations of sexual assault were made.

A woman called police from a 7-Eleven convenience store in Panorama City Monday after she woke up in a hotel room with a shirtless man she did not recognize. LAPD officers determined the 26-year-old woman had been visiting bars and drinking alcohol Sunday night in West Los Angeles, and had likely called the Uber ride-share service.

Officers went to the Panorama Motel after the woman pointed it out. Police said the suspect was the only white male tenant to have checked in. Encino resident Frederick Dencer, 32, was still in the room the woman had come from. Police said Dencer gave conflicting information during an interview with him.

Surveillance video showed Dencer carrying the woman into the room, contrary to his descriptions of the night's events, police said.

Police believe the woman's last stop Sunday night was at the Greystone Manor nightclub in West Hollywood. Police believe Dencer, an Uber driver, was hanging out at the club after another fare and may have been solicited by a nightclub worker to take the drunk victim home, according to the LAPD.

Police said the woman's cellphone was dead so it was not immediately determined if she had called for an Uber ride. Since the nightclub worker solicited the ride for the woman, it was not an official Uber assignment, police said. If it had been an official Uber assignment, Dencer would have received the victim's home address with the fare, but the victim was too drunk to tell him, police said.

"So it looks like Dencer took advantage of the situation, and drove her to a cheap motel, which he had visited before, and carried her into the room," said LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon. "He slept the night in the room, and when she awoke, he let her leave, though he asked her to stay, according to the victim."

Dencer was arrested for kidnap for the purpose of sexual assault and was held on $1 million bail.

"No sexual assault occurred," said Vernon. "There was some fondling through her clothes, suggesting what he wanted. She said no. And in the morning when she awoke and that happened, she wanted to leave, he did not stop her from leaving."

Uber released a statement Tuesday afternoon: "Uber became aware this afternoon of a serious incident in Los Angeles. The facts are unknown at this stage and it's certainly unclear that this is an Uber-related incident. We have reached out to authorities and will work with them to help uncover the facts. Nothing is more important to Uber than the safety of our riders."

"This is Dencer's first arrest," Vernon said. "It looks like he made a rash decision to take advantage of a vulnerable woman, and he's not the first man to try that. The irony is, the victim was trying to be responsible by calling for a ride, but she unwittingly put herself in another vulnerable situation. Hopefully, others will learn from this, and thankfully she was not assaulted or injured."

Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call Detective Nicole Kittle, Mission Sex Unit, at (818) 838-9975. Anonymous tips can be called into Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS, or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cellphone. All text messages should begin with the letters "LAPD." Online tips may be placed at www.LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.

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