FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Police have arrested a man after, they said, he sexually battered a woman he picked up in downtown Fort Lauderdale while posing as her Uber driver.
According to Fort Lauderdale Police, 37-year-old Shapsly Silencieux picked up the 18-year-old tourist, who had traveled from Alabama, after she lost her friends near America’s Backyard nightclub.
“Friday night, we have a victim who is in from out of state visiting friends that live locally,” said Fort Lauderdale Police Sgt. DeAnna Greenlaw.
Police said the victim saw a white Infiniti that matched the description of the vehicle she was waiting for.
“She walks up to the vehicle, says to the driver, ‘Are you my Uber?’ He says yes; she gets into the vehicle,” said Greenlaw. “As they’re driving away, she gets a notification on her phone that her Uber request had been cancelled, and she’s been charged a certain fee.”
According to the police report, the victim asked Silencieux, “You aren’t my Uber?” He responded, “I’m driving you home.”
“At that point, she asks him again, ‘Are you my driver?’ He says, ‘Yes, but I forgot my wallet. I need to go home to get my wallet, and then I will take you home,'” said Greenlaw. ”
Investigators said the suspect drove the victim to his apartment under the pretense of retrieving his wallet to buy gas. The police report states Silencieux told the victim he lives with “my family.”
Investigators said the victim followed Silencieux into his apartment. While there, she saw toys on the floor.
After some time, the police report states, the victim asked Silencieux, “Are we leaving? Can I use the bathroom before we leave?”
“But when she comes out of the restroom is when he forced her into a bedroom and committed the sexual battery,” said Greenlaw. “Detectives are told that this victim knew that something was wrong. She attempted everything in her power to prevent the suspect from doing what he did.”
Investigators said she fought Silencieux off of her, bit him and began crying. That’s when he allegedly stopped.
“It’s quoted in the arrest affidavit that he told her, ‘I’m sorry,'” said Greenlaw.
Police said the victim later tried to request an Uber to return to the Bal Harbour location where she was staying, but Silencieux snatched her phone and said he would drive her there.
Once inside his car, investigators said, she grabbed her phone and alerted friends as to what had happened. As she was dropped off, she managed to memorize the suspect’s license plate number and called 911.
Bal Harbour Police officers drove her to Fort Lauderdale where she spoke with FLPD detectives.
Using the license tag that the victim gave them, they were able to track down Silencieux to his apartment.
“He was positively identified, and he was taken into custody,” said Greenlaw.
Uber confirmed Silencieux is a driver for the company. A spokesperson released a statement that reads, “Everyone has the right to travel safely and our thoughts are with the victim after this horrific experience. While this trip did not take place on the Uber app, we immediately removed the driver’s access to the app as soon as this was reported to us.”
The spokesperson said Silencieux had no previous incidents.
He has been charged with one count of sexual battery on a victim over the age of 18 and was given a $50,000 bond.
Police advise people who use ride hailing apps like Uber and Lyft to make sure to confirm the driver, as well as the make and model of their car, before getting into the vehicle.
Silencieux has since posted bond, but it remains unclear whether he will be released Monday night or Tuesday morning.
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