An Arizona woman was rescued after being kidnapped by a man posing as an Uber driver. The incident occurred when the woman got into a blue Honda van, believing it to be her Uber, at a car dealership in the Phoenix area. The van was driven by Jacob Wilhoit, who had been visiting the woman’s home unannounced despite a restraining order against him.
Wilhoit, who was wearing a wig, restrained the woman using duct tape and zip ties and drove her about 300 miles northwest to Las Vegas. They spent the night at a park near Lake Mead before continuing their journey.
The woman was able to seek help on Tuesday when Wilhoit drove her to a gas station in Seligman, Arizona. She discreetly passed a note to a customer, providing details about the van and their intended destinations of Kingman, Arizona, and Las Vegas, while mentioning that she was in danger.
The customer immediately called 911 and reported the situation to law enforcement, providing them with the direction of travel and descriptions of both individuals. It was later discovered that the victim’s mother had already reported her as missing and endangered.
Law enforcement officials conducted a traffic stop near Seligman and successfully located Wilhoit and the victim. Firearms were also found in the vehicle. Wilhoit was taken into custody and charged with several offenses including felony harassment, threatening and intimidating, aggravated assault, unlawful imprisonment, and kidnapping.
This incident highlights the importance of verifying the details of your Uber before getting into the vehicle. Uber recommends checking the make and model of the car, the driver’s photo, and the license plate. Riders should also confirm their names by asking the driver, “Who are you here to pick up?”
While kidnappings involving ride-hailing services are rare, it serves as a reminder to prioritize safety when using these platforms.