An Uber driver in Pittsburgh has been arrested on charges of kidnapping after he was accused of trying to lock two women in his car.
Pittsburgh police spokesman Chris Togneri identified the driver to CNN as Richard Lomotey, who faces two counts each of kidnapping, false imprisonment and harassment. Lomotey has also been identified as an assistant professor at the Pennsylvania State University’s Beaver campus, according to a school spokeswoman.
Dr. Richard Lomotey: His research is good for your health | Penn State Beaver. Is kidnapping also good for your health? https://t.co/mh7GDyaJu9
— Bari Dzomba, PhD (@bdzomba) May 12, 2019
According to Pittsburgh Police, two women said they took an Uber with a male driver early Saturday. The driver commented on their looks and “did not follow the GPS directions to the requested address.”
Eventually, the women told police, the driver pulled over, put the car in park and said, “You’re not going anywhere.”
He attempted to lock the doors, the women said, but one of them was able to open a door and escaped from the back seat, followed by the second woman, according to police.
Police were able to identify Lomotey via the Uber app, Togneri said, and he was soon arrested. Court dockets show a preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for May 23.
“What’s been described is unacceptable,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement. “The driver’s access to the app has been removed and we stand ready to cooperate with law enforcement to support their investigation.”
Penn State professor accused of kidnapping two women – https://t.co/e7iQzx0qXX – A Penn State Beaver professor moonlighting as an Uber driver is accused of kidnapping and harassing two female passengers early Saturday, a report said. Richard Lomotey, a 36-year-old assistant pr… pic.twitter.com/qzdCbR2XGX
— TheDailyUSNews.com (@TheDailyUsNews) May 11, 2019
Kristen Doerschner, the director of campus relations at Penn State Beaver, told CNN the allegations against Lomotey, an assistant professor of Information Science and Technology, “are deeply troubling and we have revoked his access to campus as we look into this matter.”
“This is obviously a criminal matter and we cannot comment further,” she added.
Lomotey did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday. CNN was unable to determine whether he was represented by an attorney.
Crazed Cyclist Leaps on Uber Roof, Attacks Driver With Lock
A crazed cyclist attacked an Uber driver with a bike lock before clambering up onto the car roof where he acted out some kind of victory ritual, saluted the sky with a “diamond” gesture associated with rapper Jay Z, and then got back on his bike and cycled off into Midtown Manhattan afternoon traffic.
A video of the incident, which happened on the afternoon of Jan. 18, was released on Jan. 24, by New York Police who said the unknown attacker with dreadlocks is wanted for assault.
The driver was treated in the hospital for a head wound. His windshield and rear window were smashed.
The 23-year-old Uber driver was ferrying two passengers along Fifth Avenue around 1:20 p.m. when the cyclist began to bang on his window, according to NBC New York, for no reason.
The driver tried to get away, pulling away and off onto 40th Street, where he hit traffic.
The cyclist then caught up and smashed the front and rear windshields with his U-lock before turning his makeshift weapon on the driver, who had left the car to escape the broken glass.
One unnamed witness told Action News that the driver’s head was covered in blood.
Action News said that witnesses said that there was an argument between the two prior to the assault.
Stomping and Howling
However, most reports said that according to a police report no words were exchanged during the confrontation—but it is not clear if that refers to the duration of the assault or the entire episode.
The video, taken from inside the car behind, shows the back of the white Kia has been shattered as the man clambers onto the hood and then onto the roof. He then stomps around, and howls and raises his arms, apparently in celebration.
The attacker then turns around 180 degrees to face down the street, bends his knees, then raising his arms so that his hands form a diamond shape, in a gesture very similar to the “Diamond Roc” pyramid shape associated with rapper Jay Z.
He then dusts himself off, before stomping down the hood and then to the road.
The cyclist then simply got on his black and green bicycle and pedaled off, according to most reports, which cite police information.
One witness, however, told Action News, “The driver tackled the guy, let the guy up, and the guy rode away on his bike.”
The driver was named as Daniel Diez by ABC New York, which reported he had now gone to Puerto Rico to be with his family while he recovers.
According to reports, police describe the suspect as a black male with long dreadlocks, last seen wearing a gray hooded sweater, a black jacket, black sweatpants, black sneakers, and he had on a black backpack.
New York police are asking anyone with information about the suspect and his whereabouts to contact them immediately.
Epoch Times reporter Simon Veazey contributed to this article