POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Marc Attreed and Rhiannon Roberts were in a rush.
Attreed’s sister had just landed at the airport in Orlando and they needed to get back to their vacation rental in Davenport to let her in.
They were thrilled when they requested an Uber and it was there within minutes.
It was all working out great…until it wasn’t.
“It’s a story that we’re telling people already and it’s certainly a story we’re gonna be telling our grandchildren about the time that we traveled to go and get married and got pulled over by the police,” said Attreed.
Attreed and Roberts are from a town called in Neath in the United Kingdom.
They travel often to Central Florida to visit Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.
One year ago, they decided they wanted to get married in a butterfly garden at the Hard Rock at Universal Studios.
That is where they are getting married on Monday, which is what put them in that Uber Tuesday night.
“It certainly sobered us up very, very quickly. We were a little bit merry before then. Suddenly straight away sober,” said Roberts.
They said they were turning off of U.S. Highway 27 in Davenport when their Uber driver said he was getting pulled over.
“All of a sudden, we were surrounded by police and having guns pointed at us,” said Attreed. “It was something completely new for us to say the least. Obviously, our police forces don’t have guns.”
The couple said their driver did not immediately get out of the car.
“Everyone else drew guns. So, they asked us, ‘Are you in an Uber?’ They were like, ‘You need to put your hands up.’ And we were like, ‘Ok,’” Roberts recalled.
The UK couple was unknowingly riding in a stolen vehicle, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities said it was a rental car and the driver, 27-year-old Elijah Mills, had stopped making payments.
“The company tries and tries and tries to get their vehicle back and at a point in time in the investigation it makes it a crime, a stolen vehicle,” said Sheriff Grady Judd.
The driver eventually surrendered without incident. He also had a suspended license, according to the sheriff’s office.
The car he was driving had an anti-theft feature and would not start once it is reported stolen.
The sheriff says Mills did not turn it off for three weeks.
“He left the car running. Did you hear what I said? Now someone’s gonna buy that rental car one day and have no idea it idled for three weeks,” said Sheriff Judd.
Meanwhile, Roberts and Attreed were able to provide identification, took a picture with deputies and were taken home.
“He shouldn’t have been driving for Uber. He shouldn’t have been,” said Attreed.
Attreed said he was initially billed $120, seemingly for the Uber car sitting on the side of the road while the driver was in the cruiser.
It took several days but the money has been refunded.
“The details of this report are very troubling and we’ve reached out to the rider about their experience. We have removed the driver’s access to the Uber platform and are continuing to investigate,” an Uber representative said in a statement emailed to WFLA.