The FBI and Illinois authorities on Thursday issued a joint news release warning rideshare divers to exercise caution following a spate of carjackings in the East St. Louis area.
“Law enforcement has reported seven carjacking incidents targeting rideshare drivers since late June,” the release posted on the FBI Springfield website reads. “One was an attempted carjacking, and another resulted in a homicide.”
Rideshare is the “sharing” of driving services, usually through an application such as Uber or Lyft. The FBI and state authorities say in regard to the recent carjackings, criminals are using fake profiles to conceal their identities when requesting pickups.
“When the driver arrives, their car is stolen, and in some instances, the victim’s cell phone and/or wallet is also stolen,” the release reads. “The drivers are then left stranded in an unknown or unfamiliar location and can possibly be revictimized.”
Rideshare drivers are advised by authorities in the wake of these incidents to verify and screen riders and not accept third-party requests. Drivers should also be aware of their surroundings and familiar with pick-up and drop-off points and let a friend or family member know their whereabouts.
On Wednesday evening, an Illinois State Police pursuit of a carjacking suspect ended in Troy. although it is not clear if that was related to ridesharing. Few details have been released, with ISP citing the ongoing nature of the open investigation.
According to an ISP press release in that incident, the pursuit began on Interstate-55 northbound, a specific location was not listed, and ended near the 7000 block of Plummer Business Drive.
Troopers reported seeing a handgun gun and hearing a loud noise in that incident, but no further explanation was given. One person was reportedly airlifted to a hospital with “life-threatening” injuries.