Minneapolis man pleads guilty to carjacking scheme targeting Uber, Lyft drivers

A Minneapolis man has pleaded guilty in connection to a carjacking scheme that targeted Uber and Lyft drivers.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 20-year-old William Charles Saffold and others participated in a series of violent carjackings focused on rideshare drivers between September and October of 2021.

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Prosecutors say those participating in the scheme would lure drivers to particular locations under the guise of picking up or dropping off passengers. Then, when the drivers arrived, group members would pull out guns and demand the victims’ cellphones and wallets, often making the drivers unlock their phones so the group could transfer money from apps on the phones to their accounts.

During the carjackings and robberies, the group would often hit, pistol whip and threaten the victims, authorities say.

On May 11, as law enforcement executed an arrest warrant, the attorney’s office says Saffold pointed a gun at an FBI agent before fleeing.

Saffold pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday to conspiracy to use, carry and brandish firearms during crimes of violence and assault on a federal officer. His sentencing date will be set at a later time.