Tampa police: Man tricks woman into thinking he was her Uber driver, attacks and rapes her

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – 8 On Your Side has exclusively obtained court paperwork that outlines a vicious attack on a woman on the Fourth of July near a popular South Tampa bar.

A search warrant reveals how 30-year-old Gary Pyrus is accused of tricking the woman into thinking he was her Uber driver, then taking her to a dark parking lot where he attacked her.

Pyrus asked the woman her name while inside The Patio on South MacDill Avenue in Tampa, the paperwork shows. Then, he watched as she left the establishment and walked to the corner, where she waited for an Uber.

Pyrus, cops say, pulled up next to her and used her name to think he was her driver. But, he was not, and does not work for the company.

“The victim asked the suspect multiple times to stop,” as they passed her intended location, the documents show, but he did not.

Eventually, Pyrus pulled into a parking lot.

“The suspect began to violently attack the woman by striking her in the head,” the documents show. Moments later, he forced her into the back of his car where he sexually battered her, cops say.

Pyrus choked the woman so hard she thought she would lose consciousness, the search warrant shows.

The victim told detectives she screamed during the ordeal, and eventually, Pyrus let her go, throwing her and her clothing out of his car, the report says. The woman ran to her friend’s place, mostly nude, and called for help.

Detectives looked at surveillance video from The Patio and were quickly able to identify Pyrus. Those who work at the bar confirmed that Pyrus is a “regular customer,” the documents say.

Police call Pyrus a former Tampa resident who worked in the hospitality/food service industry.

Four days after the attack, a photo lineup was presented to the victim and police say she positively identified Pyrus as the attacker.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

“Be safe, be aware, always exchange information,” said Andy Halwani, a Tampa-based Uber driver. “I would recommend the passengers ask the drivers, what’s their name? And the driver must ask the passenger, what’s their name? This way, no way there’d be any conflict.”

A spokeswoman for Uber said the ridesharing company cannot comment on the case, but provided safety information for riders. That information is available on Uber’s website.

A man who identified himself as a co-owner of The Patio confirmed police checked surveillance video shortly after the crime. He did not want to appear on camera for a news story.

“I think it’s despicable any man would have to do that to a woman, that would have have that mindset,” said Davanna Pedicord, an Uber drive.

Pyrus remains in jail. His bond stands at $135,000.

He was arrested and plead guilty to a battery in 2017, court records show.

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