Chicago’s nightlife scene is slowly climbing out of its COVID deep freeze, and some of the criminals who prey on late night revelers are on the comeback trail, too. Like fake Uber and Lyft drivers that rob people who get into their cars believing that they are legitimate rideshares.
It happened early Saturday in Old Town.
A 23-year-old Lincoln Park man ordered a ride on the Uber app to pick him up from the 1500 block of North Wells in Old Town around 1:30 a.m., according to a CPD report. After he got into the car that he thought was his ride, the driver put a gun to his head, ordered him to turn over his valuables, and forced him to surrender his phone PIN, the report said. The victim was not injured.
There are typically two ways of being ripped off by fake rideshare drivers — the violent way and the scamming way.
The violent way is what happened to the man in Old Town. Someone posing as a rideshare driver robs you at gunpoint or beats you up and takes your stuff.
About one year ago, Shawn Bond was sentenced to prison for robbing a man he lured into a fake rideshare just one block from where Saturday’s victim was picked up.
After the victim got into Bond’s car on the 1400 block of North Wells, Bond drove to another location where he picked up an accomplice who pulled out a handgun and helped Bond rob the 26-year-old man, prosecutors said. Bond was released from prison about a week after he arrived because his sentence was reduced by the state’s 50% credit for good behavior and time spent in jail before sentencing.
Stacey Means received a nine-year prison sentence for robbing and pointing guns in the faces of people who climbed into his fake rideshare. He usually trolled River North bar strips, according to the allegations.
His last dance came after undercover cops, tipped off to Means’ activities, secretly watched as he posed as ride-hail drivers, according to court records. The officers said they tailed Means’ car as he drove a victim to an ATM where the victim was forced to withdraw money. Means will be in prison until 2024.
The non-violent approach to rideshare crime is a little slicker — and Lance and Marlon Baymon are experts at it.
Working separately, the Baymon brothers have stolen tens of thousands of dollars from people who unwittingly enter their fake rideshares, according to prosecutors.
One victim told police she got into Marlon Baymon’s car near Clark and Ontario because she thought it was her Uber ride. When they arrived at her destination, Baymon allegedly told her the app was malfunctioning and insisted that she hand over a debit card for payment. He swiped the card on his phone and made her enter her PIN — information that he later used to access her money, according to prosecutors.
Lance Baymon is scheduled to be paroled next July. His brother, Marlon, is a free man.