Police: Phony Uber Driver Abducted Women

Alabaman, 62, targeted intoxicated victims

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Phony Uber Driver

JUNE 24--An Alabama man who posed as an Uber driver to pick up intoxicated women has been charged with kidnapping and could face additional crimes in connection with his predatory scheme.

Tommy Wayne Beard, 62, targeted young women who became inebriated after spending time at bars in Tuscaloosa. Beard, seen below, lives in Northport, a Tuscaloosa suburb.

Beard was first arrested in March after a sheriff’s deputy spotted a “suspicious vehicle” parked on the side of a highway around 1:30 AM. As recounted in a court filing, when the cop spoke to Beard, who was outside the vehicle, the suspect “appeared to have an erection.”

Subsequent investigation determined that Beard was wearing “fully erect artificial male genitalia.”

While questioning Beard, deputies saw “a young, college-aged female unconscious in the back seat of Beard’s vehicle.” Beard, cops say, identified himself as an Uber driver and said he was taking the female passenger home.

But when officers woke the woman--a 22-year-old University of Alabama student--she could only recall leaving a downtown Tuscaloosa bar. While the woman lived only half-a-mile from the bar, she was found in Beard’s car nearly seven miles away from where she had been picked up. The vehicle had been stopped by police less than a quarter-mile from Beard’s residence.

Beard later reportedly admitted that he did not work for Uber, though his car had an “Uber vehicle mounted light” on his dashboard (which cops seized). A search of the vehicle yielded a loaded firearm, while cops also confiscated Beard’s phone, his artificial male genitalia, and a bottle of hair conditioner.

A subsequent examination of Beard’s phone revealed photos of “another clothed young female focusing on her breast and crotch area.” The woman appeared to be unconscious in the back seat of Beard’s vehicle.

Beard was initially charged with abducting the college student with the intent to “inflict physical injury...or violate or abuse sexually.” As police continued their investigation, Beard was released from custody on $45,000 bond.

A search of Beard’s residence turned up electronic devices that helped police identify two additional female victims. One of those women was found last year walking out of the woods, unaware of how she had gotten there. Beard’s phone, cops say, contained contact information for the woman.

Beard has been charged with two felony kidnapping counts, as well as impersonating a ride share driver. (2 pages)