A 23-year-old man suspected of armed robbery was caught by Baltimore police after a brief hunt that concluded with the pursuit of an Uber taxi car, reports ABC.
The assailant, Dashawn Terrell Cochran, was arrested after apparently entering a Royal Farms Store in Parkville, Maryland, on Wednesday, and conducting a hold up, threatening staff with a gun and then making off with some cash.
Cochran is reported to have approached the counter clutching a bottle of Tylenol cold medicine for purposes of distraction. As one employee walked to the register to help the suspect with the purchase, the suspect went over to another employee, pointed a gun at him, and took him to the register area.
It is alleged by Baltimore County Police Department that Cochran demanded the register attendant hand over money at gunpoint. Cochran fled with the stolen cash, but police officers were able to garner a good description of his appearance from the store employees.
With this eyewitness intelligence, a K-9 unit was swiftly dispatched to track down Cochran.
The suspect was later seen getting into the rear of a silver Lexus, what turned out to be an Uber ride, and once the vehicle had been traced and then located police pulled the car over.
All three men found in the Uber ride were detained.
Two other males were in the car, the driver and another passenger. To the officer’s surprise, the driver claimed to be an Uber driver, and the other an innocent Uber passenger who simply got caught up in the wrong cab.
The driver told police that he was an Uber agent and had only just picked up the two passengers, believing them both to be straightforward customers, not realizing one was an armed suspect on the run.
The Uber driver and second passenger were released without charge, after verification of their identities with police satisfied the pair had “nothing to do with the robbery.”
The robbery, Uber getaway and arrest were quickly concluded, as Cochran was taken into custody within half an hour from receipt of the distress call.
Dashawn Terrell Cochran was charged with armed robbery, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and theft of less than $1,000.
It is still unclear whether Cochran intentionally used Uber to try and make his getaway, or simply jumped into the nearest car in a spontaneous moment of opportunism.
Either way, it didn’t end well for Cochran finished the day being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center, with an eye-watering bail charge of $500,000.
Since it’s inception in 2009, Uber has experienced huge growth, with the service now operational in 58 countries and 300 cities across the world, but safety concerns have long dogged the company.
Concern has tended to focus on the quality of Uber drivers, and the company’s lack of thorough medical and criminal screening for its taxi agents. California and Texas state authorities, have launched investigations into Uber, claiming it routinely fails to adequately screen drivers and has hired drivers with criminal histories.In 2014 a driver suffered a seizure while behind the wheel, which led to him colliding with a pedestrian and several stationary cars in San Francisco.
Last week a lawsuit was filed against Uber in the same city, claiming the company knowingly neglects the safety of its female customers, a dereliction of duty which has led to dozens of alleged sexual assaults by drivers around the world.
The lawsuit requests Uber be forced to improve safety standards by introducing several new measures, reports CNET. These include creating 24-hour customer support hotlines; requiring all drivers to install GPS tracking systems on their cars that would set off an alarm if deactivated; disabling child-lock features on passenger doors; and conducting fingerprint-based background checks and in-person interviews with drivers.
[Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images]