Uber has become an ultra-popular way for people to get from here to there, despite warnings about safety from cab companies that are presumably losing business due to this new form of competition.
Does the story of Gerald Montgomery bolster such claims?
That's debatable — but there's no doubt that Montgomery has led to some unpleasant publicity for the service. The now-former Uber driver has been charged with attempted burglary and more after allegedly trying to rip off the home of a passenger he'd just dropped at DIA.
ARE DENVER CAB COMPANIES READY FOR AN UBER-BUMPY RIDE?, a March 2014 Westword feature article, deals with the tension between Uber and local cab companies.
"The transportation industry is at risk right now," Metro Taxi general manager Kyle Brown told writer Joel Warner. "The safety standards that taxis have traditionally been held to, there is an attempt by these new companies to lower that standard in order to compete.... How can you trust companies that have no regard for public safety?"
Despite such dire assertions, there have been few Uber horror stories since the company rolled into town, and we've heard nothing but positive experiences from people in our acquaintance that have used the company.
But Montgomery's alleged victim has a far different tale to tell.
On March 27, according to an arrest affidavit included below in its entirety, a woman contacted the Denver Police Department to report an attempted break-in at her residence.
She said she was at home when she noticed a man at her back door with the screen door open.
"What do you want?" she asked him.
The man replied that he was a friend of her roommate — and he used the roommate's name.
The woman replied that her roommate hadn't told her to expect anyone — something she confirmed after she contacted the roomie. The woman then returned to the door to find that the man had split — but he left behind a "tensioner" device used for lock picking.
After hearing the description of the man, the roommate said "it sounded like her Uber driver from this morning" and sent the woman a screen shot of the driver from her receipt.
Upon seeing the photo, the police report maintains, the woman was sure the Uber driver had been the guy who'd been at the door. She said he even wore the same cap he sported in his Uber pic.
Shortly thereafter, an officer reached out to the Uber legal department for information about the driver. Here's an excerpt from the affidavit about what happened next:
[The Uber representative] related that normally they require a subpoena and/or warrant for this information, but based on the circumstances, she would e-mail Your Affiant an Emergency Disclosure Form. Your Affiant received, filled out and e-mailed back the Emergency Disclosure Form...requesting any and all personal information regarding the suspect and his vehicle be forwarded to Your Affiant ASAP.
Uber complied, revealing that the driver was Montgomery, a resident of Thornton. He drove a 2010 Hyundai Sonata with Arkansas plates — and his drivers' license photo matched the Uber screen shot.
According to Fox31, Montgomery doesn't have a record in Colorado. But that will change if the Denver District Attorney's Office is successful. The DA has formally accused him of attempted second-degree burglary, possession of burglary tools and attempted first-degree criminal trespass — felonies all.
Montgomery has been released on a $10,000 bond, but he's due back in court for his second advisement on April 14.
Meanwhile, the woman who'd ridden with Montgomery says she's sworn off Uber. The bill on the way to the airport was less than $40, but she gladly paid $90 to take a taxi.
Look below to see the Fox31 report, followed by the arrest affidavit.