Cops: Woman's Note Saves Her From Fake Uber Driver

Police in Arizona are able to rescue her, arrest alleged kidnapper
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2023 7:31 AM CDT
Cops: Fake Uber Driver Abducts Woman, but Note Saves Her
The handwritten note in Seligman, Ariz.   (Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office)

A woman in Arizona was abducted by a fake Uber driver but managed to save herself by passing a note to a customer at a gas station, say police. As USA Today reports, the woman's ordeal began Monday morning when she got into a vehicle driven by a man posing as a ride-share driver at a car dealership in the Phoenix area, says the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office. The driver allegedly restrained the woman and drove to Lake Mead Park in Las Vegas, where they spent the night, say police, per CBS News. Around 5pm Tuesday, the woman managed to pass a note to a customer at a gas station off the interstate in Seligman.

"Help, (redacted) call 911," it reads. "Blue Honda van. (redacted) Going to Kingman and Las Vegas." Authorities soon stopped the vehicle without incident and arrested 41-year-old Jacob Wilhoit, who is charged with harassment, aggravated assault, unlawful imprisonment, and kidnapping, per a police Facebook post. Wilhoit had figured out the woman had called for an Uber driver, then drove to pick her up while wearing a disguise that included a wig, according to the police statement.

"It was definitely a targeted kidnapping," sheriff's office spokeswoman Kristin Green tells the Washington Post. Investigators are not identifying the woman or divulging other details about the case, including any previous ties between the two. The woman was "unbelievably traumatized," says Green, "but in her initial comments after she was rescued she said she was taken against her will and she did not go consensually." Wilhoit had several firearms in the vehicle, say police. (More Uber stories.)

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