A New Orleans man on Monday robbed his Uber driver, who subsequently lost his job for having a firearm in his possession against company rules.
Driver Clayton Lacniak told Fox News that he picked up a passenger on Monday evening in the French Quarter who appeared to be coming from work at a restaurant. The two had a fairly normal ride with some conversation, Lacniak said, before the passenger suddenly asked him to stop a couple blocks away from the destination.
“I put my foot on the brake to stop, turned around to look at him, and a gun was in my face,” Lacniak said, adding that he went into a state of shock and started “just doing what he told me to do.”
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The passenger pulled a gun on Lacinak and demanded the driver open his console, where Lacniak kept an emergency $100. It was at that time the suspect noticed Lacniak’s gun case on the floor of his vehicle and demanded he hand over the unloaded weapon as well, before taking off.
“He got in my face, he opened up my center console,” Lacniak explained. “… He got that $100, and then he… saw my gun case on the floor and he said, ‘I want that s–t. Give me that f—ing gun.’ So I went and opened the case and I handed him the gun and magazine to him and he opened my door and ran off.”
The driver called authorities immediately after the suspect left his vehicle.
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The New Orleans Police Department told Fox News that through the department’s investigations, officers “learned that an adult male victim operating a [rideshare] reported picking up an unknown black male from a location in the Eighth District.”
“While en route to the subject’s requested destination the subject allegedly obtained the victim’s handgun from the vehicle’s console, pointed it at the victim and demanded the victim stop the car. The victim complied and the subject reportedly fled on foot in possession of the victim’s handgun,” police said.
The suspect is wanted for aggravated assault, Fox 8 New Orleans first reported.
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Lacniak, who has been driving for Uber for two years, then called his employer, who told him he had violated Uber’s firearm policy, which prohibits both drivers and riders from carrying guns while using the app. Uber’s only exception is for drivers who are transporting a firearm in line with Transportation Security Administration rules, meaning it must be “unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container in the trunk of the vehicle.”
He told an Uber contact, however, that because he drives a truck, he does not have a trunk and decided the floor was his next-best option. Uber terminated him once the company was made aware that he had broken its policy. The company told Fox 8 that it has reactivated Lacniak’s profile, but Lacniak said he is still banned as of Friday morning.
“I wish I could get some help in finding out if I have any recourse against this,” Lacniak said. “…I’d like to take Uber on. I’m actually really burned up about this. I’ve lost about 40% of my income…and I don’t have any way to make that money up.”
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He added that he wants Uber to “fix this” and maybe offer some compensation for putting him in this situation.
Uber also told the outlet that the company immediately banned the rider, who is a wanted suspect for aggravated assault with a firearm. Uber works with law enforcement agencies around the country to track down suspects.
Police are asking anyone with additional information about the suspect to contact NOPD Third District detectives at 504-658-6030 or to call anonymously to Crimestoppers of Greater New Orleans at 504-822-1111.