"He Yelled to Get in His Car"; Fake Uber Driver Reportedly Targeting Women in Riverwest
It was just another walk home for Jessica Gradney Saturday night, when she says a man pulled up beside her on the corner of Booth and Meinecke.
"He asked if I had ordered an Uber, and I said no," she says. "Then, he said 'what's your name? I said Shannon, which was a fake name, and he said 'yeah, I'm your Uber."
Gradney says she continued walking, but the driver followed.
"He said no really, I'm your Uber, and I kept saying I didn't order one," she says. "That's when I realized that he was just probably trying to take me somewhere, or get me in his car for whatever reason. And that's when I realized I was in danger."
She says the man then started to get out of his car, and began yelling at her to get inside it.
"I just stopped, and I ran. I ran into an alley so that he wouldn't follow me home, and I hid in a backyard for about 5 minutes."
Gradney says she then contacted police, before posting a warning on a neighborhood Facebook Page. Throughout the night, others came forward with similar run-ins. One post said a man of a similar description entered a bar and asked if anyone had ordered an Uber.
"According to the page, he's targeting children, as well as other women, that were coming out of bars, or just walking home by themselves."
Gradney describes the man as a black male in his early 50's, with a heavier build and a raspy voice. She believes he was driving a newer model black Nissan Maxima.
"I'm gonna keep an eye out for his face, or his car, or really anything that will remind me of that event, to make sure everyone around me stays safe."
Uber sent the following statement to CBS-58 Sunday, after we requested safety tips for riders in the area.
Uber’s technology makes it possible to focus on safety for riders and drivers before, during, and after every trip in ways that have never been possible before. We have created several real-time identifiers so people know how to locate their ride (i.e. the app provides the license plate, make and model, driver's name/photo, contact information, and GPS tracking).
Milwaukee Police did not return calls regarding this investigation, or if similar reports have been filed.