CNN reported Saturday that a middle-aged man in San Francisco has been accused of posing as a rideshare driver and raping multiple women since 2013.
The accused, 37-year-old Orlando Vilchez Lazo, was arrested on Thursday and is facing a multitude of charges, including kidnapping, rape, sexual penetration with a foreign object, assault with intent to commit rape, and false imprisonment.
According to the San Francisco Police Department, Vilchez Lazo preyed on women outside of bars, luring them to his car by pretending to be a rideshare driver. After they got in the car, he would proceed to rape them.
San Francisco Police Commander Greg McEachern commented, “These assaults were not date rapes. They were not acquaintance rapes. These assaults were violent rapes committed by a serial rapist — a sexual deviant predator who was not going to stop until it was caught.”
While Vilchez Lazo has only been linked to a total of four rapes, starting in 2013, San Francisco Police suspect that there are more of his victims out there. McEachern continued, “It’s very hard to believe that he wasn’t committing sexual assault somewhere else.”
Vilchez Lazo’s arrest comes after police began monitoring rideshare vehicles in the San Francisco area last week. The detectives in charge of the operation said they were looking for “suspicious” drivers.
The San Francisco Police Department released a full statement on Friday, explaining, “In June 2018, the suspect was forensically connected to a third sexual assault which occurred in May of 2018. The San Francisco Police Department formed a taskforce which consisted of the Department’s Special Victims Unit, Crime Lab, Special Investigations, Crime Analysis Unit, Southern District Station plainclothes team and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office Crime Strategies Unit. This taskforce worked closely with the FBI and the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC) to identify and apprehend the suspect, referred to then as the Rideshare Rapist. In July 2018, the San Francisco Police Department Crime Lab was able to use forensic evidence to connect the Rideshare Rapist to a fourth sexual assault which occurred in June 2018.”
After pulling over Vilchez Lazo and obtaining a sample of his DNA, police discovered that his DNA was linked to a sexual assault case reported in June. Police are currently conducting more DNA results to determine whether or not his DNA matches the other three reported cases of sexual assault and rape.
Vilchez Lazo is being held at the San Francisco County Jail with a bail of $4,000,000.
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