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Man posing as ridesharing driver raped at least 7 women, police allege

Man posing as ridesharing driver raped at least 7 women, police allege
This LAPD sketch was part of an investigation that resulted in Friday's arrest of a Santa Clarita man who police allege posed as a rideshare driver and raped seven women.

A Santa Clarita man who pretended to be a rideshare driver has been charged with raping seven women in a span of 15 months, and authorities suspect he may have attacked others, authorities said Tuesday.

Nicolas Morales, 44, was arrested Friday by Alhambra police. He is accused of raping and sexually assaulting seven women in areas throughout Los Angeles County, including Alhambra, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, between October 2016 and January 2018, prosecutors revealed Tuesday.

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Morales is charged with 27 felony counts related to the attacks. Officials say he lured women into his vehicle and then attacked them while using a knife.

In May 2017, the LAPD appealed to the public for help in identifying a fake rideshare driver who sexually assaulted a woman after he picked her up outside a Hollywood club on Jan. 7, 2017. That attack is among the crimes Morales has been charged with.

LAPD detectives at the time said the woman got into the man's car because she believed it was the Uber car she ordered. The driver took the woman to a secluded location and sexually assaulted her. Detectives seeking leads released a police sketch created with the victim's help and said the suspect drove a four-door sedan.

Morales faces nine counts of forcible oral copulation, six counts of rape, five counts of sodomy by use of force and four counts of sexual penetration by foreign object. He also faces one count each of assault with intent to commit a felony, attempted sodomy by use of force and attempted kidnapping to commit another crime.

If convicted on all charges, Morales could face up to 300 years in prison. He is scheduled to appear in an Alhambra courtroom Tuesday, where prosecutors are asking that he be held on $10.3-million bail.

Morales was taken into custody following a multi-agency investigation by the Alhambra and Los Angeles police departments and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Twitter: @lacrimes

UPDATES:

12:55 p.m.: This post was updated with details of the Hollywood attack.

This article was originally published at 11:10 a.m.

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