Man who convinced woman he was Uber driver now in custody

- On Monday, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke about a ride sharing request gone wrong, and why the victim survived and what led police to the alleged suspect, Dartanyum Smith. 

"It's such a random occurrence that could happen to anybody," said Beck. 

Police say a woman's friend called her an Uber around 3 a.m. last Sunday in Westlake.

She says when she came out near 8th and Vermont, she was greeted by a man posing as her driver.

Police say he drove her more than a mile away to Ingraham street and brutally assaulted her. 

"She was choked unconscious at least three times, she was brutally sexually assaulted. I just can't say enough about the heroism of this victim and how valiantly she fought," said Beck. 

The fighting and screaming was what led people in the area to call 9-1-1. 

Officers came and smashed the windows to try to save the woman. 

But the suspect jumped into the front seat and drove off.

After four blocks, he pushed the woman out of the car and sped off again.

"We believed we had a predator lose on the street of Los Angeles that put everyone in harms way," said Beck. 

Uber cooperated with police for their investigation, and confirmed this isn't the first time something like this has happened. 

The ride sharing app says it encourages passengers to look at their driver's license plate number, photo and time of arrival on the app before they get into a car.  

"Those features are designed to make sure people have as much information on the front end and transparency so they know it's their driver and their appropriate ride. And that technology is built to ensure safety before during and after every trip," said Uber spokesperson Michael Amodeo. 

LAPD says investigators used DNA evidence to find the Smith on Saturday. 

Police say he has an extensive record which is why his bail has been set to one million dollars. 

Chief Beck says this type of crime is new to him. 

"I can't remember another time when someone has pretended to be an Uber driver," said Beck. 

The mayor stressed that people should call ride sharing drivers from their own phones. That way it's clear who driver is and the passenger knows when he or she will arrive.

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