A Bay Area Uber driver was arrested this weekend, after police say he sexually battered and stalked a woman who hailed him using the popular mobile app.
In a press release sent Tuesday, the Palo Alto Police Department announced the arrest, saying that Pedro Liborio-Anorve, a 35-year-old Uber driver, was arrested Sunday morning following reports that he groped a passenger, fled, then returned to her home.
According to PAPD, their dispatch center received a call at 12:27 a.m. Sunday alerting them to the incident. Investigators who responded to the scene learned that a woman in her forties and her husband had hailed an Uber allegedly driven by Liborio-Anorvevia via the company's app, and were dropped off at their Palo Alto home at around 11 p.m. Saturday night.
The couple then realized they'd left a cell phone in Liborio-Anorve's car, and contacted him asking him to return it. "When he arrived, the victim went outside to retrieve the phone. After returning the phone, the suspect suddenly kissed the victim and then groped her breast," Palo Alto police say.
The woman pushed him away and ran back inside, and Liborio-Anorve allegedly fled the scene, police say.
The couple immediately reported the attack to Uber, police say. It's unclear if that spurred what came next: About an hour after the assault, at 12:25 a.m. Sunday, police say that the woman received a call from Liborio-Anorve saying he was outside her home.
"She immediately said, 'You need to go away' and called the police," PAPD Lt. Zach Perron told NBC Bay Area. "That’s when we got involved."
By the time officers arrived, Liborio-Anorve was gone, but with what NBC describes as "help from Uber," officers were able to track him to his Redwood City home just before 4:00 a.m. They arrested him without incident, and booked him into Santa Clara County Main Jail for felony sexual battery and misdemeanor stalking.
When contacted for comment, an Uber spokesperson forwarded the same boilerplate statement sent to all members of the media regarding the attack: “The behavior described is disturbing and is not tolerated on the Uber platform. The driver partner no longer has access to the Uber app. We have been working in cooperation with police and will continue to assist with the investigation.”
According to the San Jose Mercury News, "Uber stated that Liborio-Anorve signed up as a driver in July and passed background screening, and had elicited no comparable complaints until the weekend incident."
Police say that the investigation into this case is ongoing, and are hopeful to hear from any members of the public who might have had similar encounters with the suspect, They ask anyone with information to call PAPD at 650-329-2413, email them at [email protected], or leave them a text message or voice mail at 650-383-8984.