L.A. Uber driver threatens to hit passenger with a rock, steals his iPhone, police say

For now, Uber says it isn't using the new safety program to penalize drivers or even to reward good driving habits.
(Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

An Uber driver was arrested in Los Angeles Tuesday after he threatened to attack one of his customers with a rock and stole his iPhone, police said.

Medhanie Meshesha, 35, picked up the customer Friday and drove him to his destination but the passenger forgot his phone in Meshesha’s car, LAPD officials said.

The passenger managed to contact Meshesha and had him drive back – where the customer then asked for another ride and took back his iPhone, police said.

During the ride, the customer offered Meshesha a tip for returning the phone, according to police. But Meshesha “became upset” at the offer and asked for more – which the customer refused before getting out of the car, police said in a statement.


Meshesha allegedly got out of his car, grabbed a large rock from the front yard of a home and threatened to hit the passenger if he didn’t give the him more money. The passenger continued to walk away so Meshesha put down the rock, grabbed the phone from the man’s hands, ran back to his car and sped off, police said.

The passenger reported the incident the next day.

Meshesha was taken into custody without incident at his Inglewood home on suspicion of robbery and is being held on $50,000 bail, LAPD officials said.

Meshesha has been prohibited from driver for Uber and the company is cooperating with police, Uber said in a statement.

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna.


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9:49 a.m.: This post was updated with a statement from Uber.