NEW YORK CITY, NY (NBC News) – An Uber driver in New York City kidnapped a woman who fell asleep in his vehicle, groped her in the back seat and then left her on the side of a highway in Connecticut, federal authorities said Tuesday.
Harbir Parmar, 24, of Queens, was charged in U.S. District Court with kidnapping. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he had an attorney.
The FBI said in court papers that Parmar picked the woman up in Manhattan at 11:30 p.m. on Feb. 21 for a trip to her home in White Plains, New York, about an hour away. The woman fell asleep, authorities said, and Parmar changed her destination to an address in Boston, Massachusetts.
The woman woke up to find the driver “with his hand under her shirt touching the top of her breast,” according to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday.
The woman reached for her phone, the complaint said, but Parmar took it from her and continued driving. She asked the driver to take her to the police station but Parmar refused, the complaint said.
Parmar eventually left the woman on the side of Interstate 95 in Branford, Connecticut, about an hour’s drive east of her home. The complaint said the woman memorized Parmar’s license plate and called a cab from a nearby convenience store.
The woman later learned that Uber had charged her more than $1,000 for a trip from New York to Massachusetts.
Federal authorities and New York police condemned Parmar’s behavior as reprehensible.
“No one — man or woman — should fear such an attack when they simply hire a car service,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.
The state of Colorado fined Uber $8.9 million last year for allowing people with criminal records to work as drivers.