Delaware man charged with rape posed as ride share driver, police say


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WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware man has been charged with first-degree rape, theft and other offenses after luring a young woman into his truck by posing as a ride-share driver near the University of Delaware, police said. The suspect has been identified as Roberto Rodriguez, 41, of Newark.

The incident happened at about 1:15 a.m. Saturday, when the 21-year-old woman was walking on South Chapel Street in the area of East Delaware Avenue in Newark. A man driving a GMC pickup pulled alongside her and said he was driving for a ride-share service, offering a ride home, police said.

The woman had not called for a ride, police said, but she got in and the driver took them up North Chapel Street, pulled a knife and demanded sexual acts. 

He drove on after the sexual assault and the woman escaped on Vassar Drive, police said. She then went to a nearby home and called police. She said her attacker was a Hispanic man in his 40s, police said.

The woman was taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries, according to authorities.

On Saturday, Newark police released images of the suspect’s truck and received multiple tips on its whereabouts.

Detectives located the truck at a home on Nottingham Road in Newark and began surveillance, police said. The registered owner of the truck matched the description of the suspect. When he left the home, police stopped him and found a knife in his possession. 

Detectives developed further probable cause to arrest Rodriguez.

Police took Rodriguez to headquarters where he was charged with the following:

  • Rape, first degree.
  • Possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony.
  • Unlawful sexual contact, third degree.
  • Theft under $1,500.
  • Malicious interference with emergency communications.

Rodriguez was charged with theft and malicious interference, according to Newark police, because he took the victim’s phone to prevent her from calling authorities.

Rodriguez was ordered to be held on $63,000 cash bail and taken to Howard R. Young Correctional Facility in Wilmington. 


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