Fake Rideshare Driver Arrested for Raping Woman at Knifepoint, Police Say

Roberto Rodriguez faces charges including first degree rape and third degree unlawful sexual contact.

A 41-year-old man has been arrested after police said he posed as a rideshare driver and raped a woman at knifepoint near the University of Delaware.

Roberto Rodriguez faces charges including first degree rape, third degree unlawful sexual contact, possession of a deadly weapon during commission of a felony, theft under $1,500 and malicious interference with emergency communications, Newark Police Lt. Andrew Rubin said.

Rodriguez picked up the 21-year-old victim in the area of South Chapel Street and Delaware Avenue around 1:15 a.m. Saturday before brandishing a knife and sexually assaulting her, Rubin said. He also stole the woman's cellphone to prevent her from calling police, the lieutenant added.

Rodriguez had told the victim that he was a rideshare driver, and she got into his vehicle even though she had not called for a ride, Rubin said.

After receiving a string of tips, Newark Police found Rodriguez's vehicle, a GMC pickup, parked at a home on Nottingham Road. They staked out the home and when Rodriguez got out, police found a knife on him, Rubin said.

After establishing that the pickup was registered to Rodriguez and finding other probable cause, police arrested him.

Newark Police
Newark police released this booking photo of Roberto Rodriguez after releasing images of a truck allegedly used in a knifepoint rape near the University of Delaware. The booking photo "is being released in an effort to alert the public in case there may be other victims or witnesses to criminal activity involving Rodriguez," police said Monday. "The Newark Police Department does NOT possess any information that there are other victims or involvement in criminal activity, but are releasing the photo for public safety purposes."
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It was unclear if the victim is a student at the nearby university, but the University of Delaware Police advised students to download its LiveSafe app, which allows people to connect with the department directly.

Students who experience sexual misconduct can also contact the UDP's Sexual Offense Support program 24/7 by calling 302-831-1001 and pressing 1.

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