An Uber driver has been arrested and charged with kidnapping and "terrorizing" one of his passengers earlier this year, prosecutors say.
Harbir Parmar, 24, of Howard Beach in Queens, picked up a female passenger at 11:30 p.m. on Feb. 21 in Manhattan and was scheduled to take her to her residence in White Plains, court papers say.
After Parmar’s victim passenger fell asleep in the vehicle, a 2016 Toyota Highlander, he allegedly changed the victim’s destination in the company’s mobile application to an address in Boston and drove toward Massachusetts, prosecutors say.
When the victim awoke, the vehicle was parked by the side of the road and Parmar was in the backseat with her with his hand under her shirt touching the top of her breast, prosecutors said.
Parmar then went back to the driver’s seat and continued driving.
The victim requested to be taken to White Plains or to a police station but he refused and dropped the victim off on the side of I-95 in Branford, Connecticut.
The victim was able to memorize Parmar’s license plate before seeking assistance at a nearby convenience store, court papers say.
Investigators determined the license plate was registered to Parmar.
When the woman reported the incident to Uber the next day, she learned she had been charged more than $1,000 for the bogus trip in which she'd been kidnapped.
Prosecutors say Parmar also changed the destinations of other Uber customers through the company’s mobile application on at least 11 occasions between December 2016 and February 2018.
“As alleged, Harbir Parmar was hired to transport a woman from Manhattan to her home in White Plains.” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement. “Instead, Parmar kidnapped, terrorized, and assaulted the woman before dumping her on the side of an interstate.”
Parmar appeared in federal court in White Plains on Tuesday afternoon.
He was released on bail, will be subject to home detention enforced by electronic monitoring, as well as strict pretrial supervision, and will not be able to work as a cab or ride-sharing driver, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan said.
In a statement, Uber said: “What’s been reported is horrible and something no person should go through. As soon as we became aware, we immediately removed this individual's access to the platform. We have fully cooperated with law enforcement and will continue to support their investigation.”
A message left with Parmar's attorney, a federal public defender, was not immediately returned.
There may be more victims of this alleged conduct, investigators say. Anyone with information to report is urged to contact the FBI's Westchester Resident Agency at 914-925-3888.