CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Ride sharing services like Lyft and Uber are extremely popular and reliable.
If you try to skip the company and do an off-the-books ride, beware, you might end up like a Charlotte man who's now out of his cash and an expensive new phone.
On New Year's Eve, a woman was seen charging into a convenience store. She claimed to be an Uber driver and she just picked up the man who offered to pay her for an off-the-books ride.
"She's going to take him home, he's going to pay her the cash, it's never officially recorded to Uber or Lyft or any other service like that," said CMPD Detective Brandon Miller.
During the ride home, he gets sick in the back seat and vomits. She pulls into a gas station right away and demands money from her rider.
"Because there's an ATM inside, she says I want you to pay for the damages for you getting sick in the back of my car. He said I'm not paying for damages, I'll help clean it up."
At this point, the demand becomes a strong armed robbery.
"She snatches 50 dollars out of his hand, snatches an iPhone."
He wanted his cash and that new iPhone 8 back, and blocked her from leaving. But, she became the aggressor.
"She slings him around the store, puts him a bit of a choke hold and she physically moves him out of the way."
That is considered a misdemeanor assault.
Police contacted Uber, but the company couldn't help.
"If it was properly registered with Uber, they should have all the information, but when we contacted Uber, they couldn't provide us any of that."
Something else police hoped to trace, the man's brand new iPhone.
"We don't even have a serial number for the cell phone, so we can't track the cell phone, either."
There are two charges possible against this woman, a strong armed robbery and a misdemeanor assault. Police say to never do an off-the-books ride for someone purporting to be an Uber or Lyft driver. Always keep it on the record.
She was driving a silver four-door Honda Accord sedan with an Uber logo in the window.
If you know her, call Crime Stoppers and give her a ride to police station. 704-334-1600. You don't have to leave your name and you won't be called into court.