(WTNH) – The Federal Bureau of Investigations has warned about people using rideshare cars to abduct minors.
The FBI made a public service announcement on Tuesday saying that criminal actors are leveraging rideshare vehicles to abduct minors. This is due to the lower likelihood of detection and ease of facilitation, according to the FBI.
While the FBI says it is a rare occurrence, they are putting out the warning due to the high impact of such events. The FBI also says that during the COVID-19 pandemic, more people used rideshare services as they offered more privacy than public transportation.
According to the FBI, criminal actors use rideshare services to facilitate child abduction as they are more direct, easy to book and have a less stringent driver and passenger security protocols than other forms of transportation.
The FBI identified a trend of criminal actors using rideshare vehicles to abduct minors. The FBI said in April 2022, a 16-year-old boy requested a rideshare trip from Oregon to Texas. During the ride, the driver offered the teen a drink and the teen later woke up in a home 20 miles in the opposite direction of his destination. The driver was subsequently arrested.
In another case, in February 2022, a father and his 7-year-old son traveled in a rideshare. The father asked the driver to stop at a flower shop, and when the father got out, the driver drove off with the boy. The boy found his way to call his mother. The driver was arrested.
In February 2021, the FBI said an adult male in Colorado met a minor on social media and groomed her to send child sexual exploitation material. The man flew to California and persuaded the minor to sneak out o their home and get into a rideshare. The rideshare brought the victim to the airport where they got onto a plane to Washington, D.C. According to the FBI, during the travel, the man forced the victim to pretend to be mute and wear a wig in order to avoid detection. The victim was recovered, and police apprehended her abductor at the airport during their layover.
If you observe any suspicious behavior involving child abduction, contact your local police department immediately.