South Florida Uber driver accused of kidnapping, raping passenger

JUPITER, Fla. (WSVN) — A South Florida Uber driver has been arrested, accused of kidnapping and raping his female passenger.

Jupiter Police said 55-year-old Gary Kitchings picked up the woman just after midnight on May 7 from Sun Fest in downtown West Palm Beach.

On the drive home, the woman told police Kitchings began to flirt with her and tried to run his hand up her shirt. The victim said she tried to jump out of the car to escape, but said Kitchings told her he had a gun and threatened to kill her if she didn’t do what he wanted.

According to WPTV, the victim tried to run inside her house, but said Kitchings grabbed her and pushed her inside, where police said he raped her.

The police report says Kitchings eventually left, telling the victim he would come back and kill her if she told anyone. She locked her door and hid in a closet to call 911 around 2 a.m., giving police his license plate number from the Uber app.

Police arrested Kitchings for kidnapping, sexual battery, and burglary, and a judge ordered him held without bond.

Investigators said he works and lives at Kid Sanctuary Campus, a non-profit home for neglected and abused children.

His employer, Place of Hope, said Kitchings has been placed on leave pending the outcome of criminal proceedings, and released a statement, saying, “Place of Hope takes any allegations of assault or abuse very seriously, given our mission to protect the vulnerable from abuse, neglect and abandonment.”

Uber said Kitchings has been removed as a driver from their app, saying, “What the rider reported is deeply disturbing.”

Anyone with further information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Jupiter Police Department at (561) 746-6201 or Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County at (800) 458-TIPS (8477). You can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

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