Police warn riders to stay alert after man posed as Lyft driver

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati Police are still searching for a man who they said posed as an Lyft driver and sexually assaulted a woman.

Many people who don't want to deal with the hassles of driving and parking turn to Lyft or an Uber to get around.

"I've never had a bad experience but I'm always with one other person," said Stephanie Powers, who uses Lyft often.

Now, some are a little rattled after learning that police say a man pretended to be a Lyft driver Saturday night.

"It's very nerve racking," said Lisa Lipps.

Police released a sketch of the man they are looking for. They said the man picked up a 23-year-old woman near Red Bank Road then drove her to a park area on Main Street where he sexually assaulted her.

"I could totally see someone getting in the wrong car. I mean if you're not paying attention to your app and see what they look like what kind of car they're driving. It's real easy to get in the wrong car," said Powers.

Police said they are not sure if the woman used the app, but tonight they are warning those who use the service to pay close attention.

"The trust that we have in Uber and Lyft concerns me because if you are by yourself and you're trying to get a ride you feel that you could trust that service since it is a very well-known service," Julie Koterba, who has also used the ride-share service often.

Lyft released a statement saying to ensure riders get into the right car the app displays photos of the Lyft driver, their car type and license plate number. Plus there is an Amp device in the driver's car that lights up the same color on the app when you are in the correct car.

Julie Koterba said she even takes it a step further.

"We usually ask the driver to get out and let us know who it is so we make sure we have the right person," she said.

All the women we talked to say going forward they will make sure they're not alone when using a ride-share service.

"I've always been a little hesitant to take one by myself and now it kind of validates that I will probably never do it," said Powers.

The statement from Lyft goes on to say, " The safety of the Lyft community is our top priority and we take any incident of this nature extremely seriously. We are in contact with law enforcement and are working to assist their investigation in any way that we can."

Anyone who recognizes the person in the sketch is asked to call police.

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