UPDATE: Derry Township police chief said they’re still not sure where the claim: “He had heard from other ride-share users in the area this same white Jeep Grand Cherokee had been involved in other similar incidents in the Hershey area.”(from the original press release).
However, they still haven’t identified the two passengers and are still looking to talk to them for informational purposes. They do not believe any criminal charges will come out.
DERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — Police are reminding people to be careful when using rideshare apps; there have been multiple reports of a person pretending to be a Lyft driver in Derry Township.
The incident occurred around 3:30 a.m. Sunday along Chocolate Avenue, near Primanti Brothers and Iron Hill Brewery.
Derry Township police say this is the first time they’ve dealt with a problem like this.
Police chief Garth Warner says a Lyft driver was looking for his passenger when he noticed a white Jeep Grand Cherokee stopped on the north side of Chocolate Avenue.
He says the driver of the Jeep made an abrupt u-turn in front of the Lyft driver, attempting to picking up a woman waiting for a ride.
“There was a male that ended up coming up to her as well, noticed that this was not the vehicle that was indicated on their app to get the ride with and ended up going to that female, pulling her away from the white Jeep Grand Cherokee,” Warner said.
She was able to evade a potentially dangerous situation by waiting and then taking her intended Lyft.
“Everyone goes and like stands on the curb, and they’re looking up and down the street, they’re looking around, so it’s like not hard to tell what they’re doing,” said Alex Fricchione, a waitress at Iron Hill Brewery. “I can totally imagine how someone could just like go up and be like ‘Hey I’m here to pick you up.'”
Regardless, the prospect of fake Lyft drivers remains unsettling to some in the community.
Hershey resident Jim Davis said the situation was “kind of shocking that it would happen in this community.”
This isn’t the first time this has happened, according to the Lyft driver who reported the incident.
“We have been told by the actual Lyft that there were other customers who reported seeing this White Jeep Grand Cherokee picking up [passengers],” Warner said.
There are simple ways to avoid these scenarios.
“I always make sure to check the license plate number that it matches what’s in the app,” Davis said.
“I mean it tells you who’s coming to pick you up and what car they’re in, so I think you just need to be aware,” Fricchione said.
“And then vice versa, they need to ask that driver, who are they picking up, what’s the name of the person? Because they do give a first name,” Warner said.
Warner suggests sharing your ride with another person to avoid being alone and to stay away from drivers with low ratings.
Chief Warner is asking the two passengers of that Lyft ride to come forward. Anyone else with information about the driver of the White Jeep Grand Cherokee is asked to call Derry Township at 717-534-2202.