A man who is accused of kidnapping, false imprisonment and battery after posing as a rideshare driver appeared in court Tuesday. Nassef Ragheb pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Bakersfield police arrested Ragheb near 23rd and l streets last week. The arrest came as the result of three related investigations over the past three years.
On February 1st, officers investigated a prowling incident at a residence in the area of Brimhall Road and Jewetta Avenue. A follow-up investigation led to the identification of Ragheb as a suspect in that investigation. He was listed previously as a suspect in related offenses reported to BPD and the Kern County Sheriff’s Office in 2018 and 2019.
The department said investigators found evidence that showed Ragheb posed as an Uber or Lyft driver in an effort to get women to enter his vehicle. On at least one instance, he tried to forcibly kiss one of the female victims after driving her to her home.
Ragheb was seen in the rear yard of a victim’s residence, peering into the victim’s windows, and entering another victim’s residence through an unlocked door, BPD said. All of these incidents occurred in northwest Bakersfield.
The department said Ragheb appeared to target women that were possibly intoxicated leaving local bars and restaurants. The department is asking for help identifying any other incidents Ragheb may have been involved in.
Ragheb is set to be back in court on February 24th. Anyone with information can contact BPD at 661-327-7111.