Uber driver helps track down man who robbed him; ‘I … decided I wasn’t going to take this’

An Uber driver became uber upset after being robbed early Sunday, so he chased the suspect until police arrived to make an arrest.

Josh Hansen, 44, of Harlan, Iowa, who works out of his home providing IT services, said he’s been an Uber driver on weekends for 2½ years. None of the previous 3,700-plus fares has proved so eventful.

“I’d say 99 percent of the time, it’s fantastic,” Hansen said Monday. “The bar crowds can be a little crazy, but nothing ever happened like this before.”

The incident began about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, when Hansen, who carries a Taser for protection, was called to pick up a man at 45th and Burdette Streets. The passenger got into the front seat and soon began punching Hansen in the side of the head and demanding his wallet.

“I didn’t know if he had a gun or not so I just told myself ‘Josh, just stay alive.’ I gave him my wallet but tried to tase him as he left the car,” Hansen said. “He had a jacket around his waist so (the Taser) wasn’t effective. I sped down toward the stop sign and decided I wasn’t going to take this, and I was going to go back and get this guy.”

When Hansen turned his 2014 Chevrolet Impala around, the 25-year-old man began to run. When he stopped for a moment, Hansen yelled for the man to keep the $33 and just give him back the wallet.

“He said, ‘OK, wait here,’ but I said ‘Oh, no’ and that I would follow him,” Hansen said.

The man started to run again, so Hansen said he followed in his car for about three blocks, calling 911 and providing a “play-by-play” of the man’s movements.

At least four police cruisers descended on the area around Northwest Radial Highway and Hamilton Street. Hansen spotted the man in a car lot, and got out of his Impala, which flushed the man out of hiding. The man then ran across Northwest Radial, where officers then took him into custody.

Bills totaling $33 were found on the suspect, according to a police report, and he was arrested on suspicion of robbery. Officers found Hansen’s wallet in a nearby alley.

Hansen later learned that he had suffered a concussion.

“I’m glad we got him because if this had worked on me, he probably would’ve kept going and someone could’ve really gotten hurt,” Hansen said.