Man mistaken for Uber driver pleads no contest to raping woman in Johnson County

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Kansas City Crime Stoppers most wanted fugitives updated video updated Aug. 21, 2019.
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Kansas City Crime Stoppers most wanted fugitives updated video updated Aug. 21, 2019.

A 45-year-old man who claimed to be an Uber driver will be sentenced after pleading no contest to charges he kidnapped and raped a woman in 2016 in Overland Park.

Dereje Gebremariam, of Kansas City, picked up the woman and her male friend Aug. 7, 2016, at the Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City. They were headed to a hotel in Overland Park.

The couple thought Gebremariam was an Uber driver, police said. An Uber spokeswoman said he was not a company driver.

On the way, the man asked Gebremariam to stop so he could use the bathroom.

When the man stepped out of the vehicle, he later told police, Gebremariam drove off with the woman. He raped the woman while she was “incapable of giving consent because of the effect of alcoholic liquor,” according to charging documents.

The man called police and said his phone and a credit card were also left in the vehicle. The driver dropped off the woman at the hotel; she later identified Gebremariam in a photo lineup, police said.

Kansas City and Overland Park police served a search warrant at Gebremariam’s apartment and found cell phones and a credit card belonging to the woman and her friend, court records show.

Gebremariam was charged with rape, aggravated kidnapping and felony theft. As part of his plea agreement, prosecutors dropped the theft charge.

The Johnson County District Attorney’s Office will recommend Gebremariam serve his sentences at the same time. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 28.

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