PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A rideshare driver is now accused of raping and kidnapping a passenger in late October, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said.
Omar Al Naser was arrested Tuesday morning at his Beaverton home on 4 charges related to the incident that began on the night of October 23, authorities said.
The victim said they were at a family member’s house that night and called Lyft for a ride. Al Naser arrived, officials said, but instead of taking the passenger home went to his house.
The 32-year-old driver is now being held on rape, sodomy, sexual abuse and kidnapping charges, authorities said.
The investigation is ongoing and “deputies believe there could be additional victims.”
The Sheriff’s Office said Al Naser drove for Lyft between August and November 2021 and urged other victims to come forward.
“We understand as a victim of a sex crime it is extremely hard to come forward – we do want to hear from you, but it’s at your pace,” Sgt. Danny DiPietro of Washington County Sheriff’s Office said.
Authorities also ask that victims go to a hospital as soon as possible to see a sexual assault nurse — they are there to take evidence and contact local law enforcement.
In a statement to KOIN 6 News, a Lyft spokesperson said:
“Safety is fundamental to Lyft, and the behavior described is appalling. After becoming aware of the incident, we launched an investigation and permanently removed the driver from the Lyft platform. We reached out to the rider to offer our support and worked with law enforcement to assist with their investigation.”
After Lyft terminated Al Naser’s account, he tried to sign up with another rideshare company.
Lyft communicated with the other company as to why he was terminated — due to the accusations, so he wasn’t able to drive for another company.
KOIN 6 News learned that this case isn’t necessarily an anomaly.
According to the company’s first safety report, Lyft recorded more than 4,000 sexual assault cases from 2017 to 2019.
The Sheriff’s Office suggests taking precautions when using rideshare services:
- Have someone ride with you.
- Stay on the phone with someone at all times during the ride.
- Share your smartphone location with someone and let them know where you are going.
- Let the friend or family member know you will call them when you get home safely.
- On some iPhones, if you press the end button 5 times it sends an emergency notification to all your emergency contacts to alert them you need help. Make sure emergency contact information is set up within phone settings.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 503.629.0111.