Uber driver charged with kidnapping in Pittsburgh accused of same crime on same night
An Uber driver accused of kidnapping two female passengers earlier this month in Pittsburgh was charged Monday with trying the same thing on the same night on a different woman, court records show.
Richard Lomotey, 36, of Monaca, now faces a second set of charges that include kidnapping and unlawful restraint.
Lomotey was charged May 11 after two women alleged that Lomotey, their Uber driver, ignored the GPS directions to Penn Hills, drove them to a Point Breeze intersection, locked the car doors and told them, “You’re not going anywhere.”
On Thursday, police spoke with a woman who reported she was receiving calls from her cellphone that she’d lost the week prior, according to the criminal complaint. She said she’d lost her phone when she leapt from a moving vehicle to escape from an Uber driver.
The woman told police she was leaving the Galaxy Nightclub early on May 11 in Homewood when she spotted a car with an Uber decal. She said she got in, gave the driver $10 and her address and asked him to drive her home, according to the complaint. She did not use the Uber app.
The driver, who she later identified as Lomotey, “kept asking about her relationship status,” and he kept grabbing her left wrist as he drove, according to the complaint. The woman told police that he would lock the doors, she would unlock them, and he would lock them again.
The woman wanted out of the car, at which point Lomotey allegedly ripped her shirt and bra, according to the complaint.
“She stated she was so afraid she opened the door and jumped from the moving vehicle at an unknown location in Homewood,” police wrote.
Investigators noted that the incident matched the case reported by the two women on May 11. Those women told police that while they were in the car with Lomotey, they saw a woman with torn clothing limping down the street.
They said they asked Lomotey to stop and help the woman, but he kept driving, according to police.
The pair eventually also leapt from Lomotey’s Ford Fusion after he stopped at the intersection of South Homewood and Penn avenues and tried to lock them in the car. The women escaped and called police, who identified Lomotey using a screenshot one woman took of her Uber app.
The first woman, the one who did not use the app, said she recognized Lomotey when she saw him on the TV news, police said. She had a scraped knee and shoulder when police spoke to her five days after the incident.
Lomotey, a professor at Penn State’s Beaver campus, appeared on Tribune-Review news partner WPXI-TV last week to proclaim his innocence. He told the TV station it was a misunderstanding.
Lomotey was arraigned on the first set of charges – two counts each of kidnapping, false imprisonment and harassment – later May 11. He was released on his own recognizance. He was taken into custody by Pittsburgh police Monday morning on the new charges of kidnapping, unlawful restraint, reckless endangerment and simple assault.
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter .