San Francisco

Suspect Arrested in Series of SF Sexual Assaults by Rideshare Drivers

Detectives in San Francisco last week arrested a San Mateo County man they say is connected to at least four sexual assaults in the city since 2013, according to the San Francisco Police Department.

Orlando Vilchez Lazo, 37, was taken into custody outside of his home in San Mateo County on Thursday, charged with multiple offenses, including false imprisonment, kidnapping, assault with intent to commit rape, sexual penetration with a foreign object and rape.

Vilchez Lazo posed as a driver for a popular ride-hailing company, picked up his victims and drove them to another location before sexually assaulting them, investigators said. Vilchez Lazo has been linked to at least four such sexual assaults after a taskforce surveilling rideshare drivers in the city on July 7 pulled him over and obtained a DNA sample, police said. Forensic evidence then linked him to a sexual assault in June.

The first sexual assault occurred in 2013, and three others occurred earlier this year in February, May and June, police said.

Rideshare companies cooperated with SFPD investigators to determine whether Vilchez Lazo ever drove for them. Lyft released a statement Monday, saying in part, "We have confirmed that this person did drive for Lyft in the past, but as soon as we were made aware of these horrific and deeply disturbing allegations, we immediately deactivated him."

While a suspect has been identified in the assaults, the investigation remains ongoing, and there may be additional victims, police said. Anyone who nay have encountered or made contact with Vilchez Lazo or who may have witnessed the assaults should contact the SFPD Special Victims Unit at 415-553-1521, the SFPD's 24-hour tip line at 415-575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD.

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