Man arrested after abducting Lyft driver for hours

KATY, Texas -- A man is in jail after deputies say he abducted a Lyft driver for hours, stealing her cash and other belongings.

On Tuesday, the Harris County Sheriff's Office arrested 19-year-old Deveriq Yell.

Yell is charged with aggravated kidnapping.

"I'm absolutely positive he did it. I believe that he did it," Harris County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Russell Coleman said. "I don't know what went through his mind. I really don't."

Deputies say Yell was picked up by a Lyft driver in the Katy area and demanded her to drive him to a rural part of Brookshire.

Once in Brookshire, the Lyft driver told deputies that Yell reached over the seat, grabbed her, forced her into the passenger seat and then took control of the vehicle.

Deputies say Yell went to a gas station and used the woman's debit card to steal $100. Then, he told the victim to tell her husband to meet her at the Katy Mills Mall.

Instead of going to the mall, deputies say Yell took the victim to her house and stole her television and cell phone.

Yell then took off in the woman's vehicle while she called 911. Deputies said the entire abduction lasted more than three hours.

Surveillance video allegedly shows Yell using the victim's debit card at the gas station and a Walmart 45 minutes after he left the victim.

"She complied," Coleman said. "She lived through it. She thought, at one point when they were in the middle of nowhere, she wasn't going to make it and he would kill her and leave her in one of the rice fields up north."

Days later, deputies spotted the woman's vehicle in Fort Bend County. Yell was inside, as well as the victim's electronics.

Yell told deputies that he bought the vehicle from a man named Jose, but did not provided any documentation.

The victim worked for the ride sharing company, Lyft. The business said it has safety measures in place, including an app that allows drivers to contact police, and a dedicated crisis team.

"These allegations are deeply disturbing. The safety of our community is our top priority and the behavior described is absolutely unacceptable. We deactivated the passenger as soon as this incident was reported to us and have reached out to extend our support to the driver. We have also been in touch with law enforcement and stand ready to assist with their investigation."

Yell's bond was set at $100,000. Prosecutors argued for $50,000, but the judge doubled the amount because Yell faces a separate aggravated robbery charge from a September incident.

"I find this all very troubling. It has been my experience, in the short time I've been up here, that when things happen in rapid succession, when you pick up a whole bunch of cases at once, that can be a really dangerous thing," the Harris County judge said.

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Surveillance video of 19-year-old man accused of abducting Lyft driver

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