CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Liberty Cab driver robbed at gunpoint

Crime

The owner of Liberty Cab says he is hopeful police will catch the man who robbed one of his drivers at gunpoint late Friday night.

It happened near Military Road and Austin, shortly after a female driver picked up a male passenger.

According to the police report, the passenger held a gun to the driver’s head and told her to “Pull over, pull over, pull over. Give me everything.”

Video released by Liberty Cab shows the man pointing the gun in the driver’s face and also pressing it against her side. The video later shows the driver handing over cash, before the suspect gets out of the vehicle in the area of Amherst Street and Tonawanda Street.

The robber got away with the cab driver’s wallet and cash, as well as a tablet from the vehicle.

Bill Yuhnke, the owner of Liberty Cab, says the driver handled the situation the right way.

“She followed everything. I mean, we don’t care about the money, give it up, whatever it has to be, but you can’t put a value on a life, and I think that’s what it’s about. We’re a family here,” he told News 4.

The driver is okay, but is shaken up and has not yet returned to work, Yuhnke said. She had just started working at Liberty Cab a few days before the robbery.

“It shocked everybody. We have a huge fleet here. This could have happened to anybody,” said Djordje Savija, Liberty Cab General Manager.

“These cab drivers barely carry any cash.  The majority of the work is credit card or voucher business nowadays. To do something like that was uncalled for,” he added.

Savija told News 4 the tablet that was stolen Friday night was returned to Liberty Cab earlier this week by a man who said he found it in a parking lot.

Earlier this week, the tablet was returned to Liberty Cab by a man who says he found it in a parking lot. “I just saw some guy drop a tablet out of his car,” the man said, in a recording of the phone call played back for News 4. “I’ve got your tablet. I was wondering if I can give it back.”

The man asked for a small finder’s fee for returning the tablet. He is seen on surveillance video in the Liberty Cab lobby bringing the tablet in. He does not match the description of the robbery suspect given to police.

According to the police report, the driver described the suspect as a light-skinned black man who is about 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs around 170 pounds.

“Somebody knows this guy. He knows his face. Let’s do the right thing,” Yuhnke said.

Yuhnke says Liberty Cab’s insurance company installed cameras across his company’s fleet last year to monitor driver behavior and track movements, in case of a crash. He says his company is actually testing the technology to see whether it should be used across the country.

“If you’re a bad guy, don’t call us,” he said, after releasing the video of the robbery to the public.

Yuhnke says driver safety is the number on priority for his company, and it’s difficult to think about the situation his driver went through. News 4 is not identifying her because she is the victim of a crime.

“I’ve been in this business for 40 years. All these people have trusted their lives with me,” Yuhnke said.

“You should feel safe because we have these precautions in place,” he added.

Anyone with information should call or text the Buffalo Police tip line at (716) 847-2255.

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