As an Uber driver, you can expect to pick up all kinds of people during the course of a day. Office workers, store staff, students, gas station robbers … woah! Hang on right there. Gas station robbers?
That’s right, it does happen. Take poor ol’ Terry Owens. The Albuquerque resident had only been an Uber driver for a short time when he unknowingly found himself acting as a getaway driver for a fella named Austen Harris.
It all started when when Owens received a ride request from a nearby gas station. Nothing strange in that, you might think. But when Harris jumped in the car, something didn’t seem right. It was probably the scissors he was holding. And the fact that he was “acting kind of weird,” according to Owens.
The rookie Uber driver later told police that he even challenged his rider about the scissors, which, it later transpired, Harris had used to hold up the gas station.
Harris told Owens he was using them to cut strings off his jacket, an answer that was about as believable as a dodgy deepfake.
After dropping his passenger off — with or without strings hanging from his jacket — Owens clocked off and went home.
An hour later, the cops were outside his house, hollering at him to come out with his hands raised. After explaining the situation, the cops continued their investigation, which, considering how Uber records passenger names, rides, and other information, quickly tracked down Harris, who later pled guilty to the robbery.
But it may surprise you to learn that this isn’t the first time an Uber has been used as a getaway vehicle. Just last month, a suspect allegedly robbed a Dunkin’ store on Long Island before jumping into a waiting Uber. In fact, there are several stories going back years of similar crime-related shenanigans, with the Uber drivers unaware of what was happening till the cops showed up.
Still, the oddest tale we’ve heard yet when it comes to fleeing suspects using ridesharing services was earlier this year when a guy in Texas allegedly robbed a bank before hopping onto a scooter operated by Jump — a scootershare company owned by none other than Uber — to make his getaway. As in the other cases, cops easily found their man as the suspect had used his Jump account to rent the two-wheeler.