A man driving a taxicab without a permit was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a drunken woman he picked up in Santa Cruz and took to a motel room, police said today. Santa Cruz police arrested 53-year-old Ahmed Ali Abdi on Friday as he sat in his cab on Winkle Avenue in Live Oak, Deputy police Chief Steve Clark said.
According to police, Abdi was working as a cab driver at about 1 a.m. Friday in the 900 block of Pacific Avenue when he picked up a 30-year-old Watsonville woman who was extremely intoxicated to the point of passing out, Clark said. Instead of contacting public authorities to help the woman, Abdi drove her to a motel in the 100 block of Ocean Street in Santa Cruz and stole money from her purse to pay for a room, according to Clark.
Police obtained surveillance video from the motel that showed Abdi assisting the woman to a room, Clark said. The victim later told police that she woke up to find herself naked in bed with Abdi, who was also naked and fondling her, but she then blacked out, Clark said. The woman reported waking up at about 4 a.m. and saw that Abdi had left the room. She then contacted police. Police officers later located Abdi, who had the key to the motel room in his possession as well as some methamphetamine, Clark said.
Abdi was arrested and booked into Santa Cruz County Jail on suspicion of sexual assault, kidnapping, burglary and being in violation of his probation on drug charges, according to Clark. At the time of his arrest, Abdi had been working for Santa Cruz Yellow Cab Co. but did not have a police-issued cab permit, which requires a criminal history check, Clark said. Abdi had been denied a cab permit by Santa Cruz police three times, most recently last June, Clark said.
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