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Uber Driver Accused of Armed Robbery, Kidnapping in Hillsborough

Christian Noda } Hillsborough Sheriff | Arrests

Hillsborough deputies said he voluntarily admitted to being the mastermind behind the plan.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY – A Uber driver has been accused of robbing and kidnapping a 74-year-old Sarasota woman, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.

Christian Kirby Noda, 21, of Orlando, has been charged with armed robbery with a firearm and armed kidnapping. Noda turned himself in to authorities at the Osceola County Jail. Deputies are searching for a second suspect.

Deputies said that about 9 p.m. Tuesday (Oct. 31), Hayat Brancheau, 74, of Sarasota, ordered an Uber ride share service at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino, 5223 Orient Road in Tampa. Noda, the Uber driver, picked up Brancheau to drive her back to her residence. Noda told her he needed to check the air of his vehicle’s tires and stopped at 3939 N Hwy 301 in Tampa.

While Noda was attending to his vehicle, deputies said, a masked man approached the vehicle and told Brancheau, who was seated in the right front passenger seat, to get out of the car and into the back seat. Brancheau, who was in fear of her life, complied and sat in the backseat.

Noda told her to “do what he says, he has a gun” and sat in the driver’s seat. Deputies said the unknown man told Noda to drive the vehicle to several banks and withdraw money from Brancheau’s debit card while the unknown man took two $500-dollar poker chips from her purse.

The unknown man and Noda took Brnacheau to 12877 E Hwy 92 in Dover, a Speedway gas station, then ordered her to get out of the vehicle. The unknown man and Noda switched seats and the unknown man drove away, deputies said.

Brancheau’s debit card was used in several location in Polk and Osceola counties.

Deputies said Noda told them, during a non-custodial interview, that he was not a victim but planned to rob an Uber passenger. He told deputies that he specifically drove to Tampa from Orlando to find a passenger. He voluntarily told deputies that this plan “was his strategy” and his accomplice was armed with a replica firearm.

Deputies said there is no evidence at this point that Brancheau was targeted before leaving the casino.

After deputies read him the Miranda warning, they said he declined to make a statement, but was in possession of the two missing poker chips.

Deputies are searching for the unknown man. Anyone with any information related to the unidentified suspect is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at (813) 247-8200 or anyone with any information regarding the identity of this suspect and who wants to be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), report anonymously online at crimestopperstb.com or send a mobile tip using the department’s P3 Tips Mobile application, which is a free download for iPhones, iPads and Droids. You must call Crime Stoppers first to be eligible for a reward.

For information about the Hillsborough sheriff, go to hcso.tampa.fl.us.

Hillsborough Sheriff | Crime | Kidnapping | Armed Robbery | Uber | Arrests | Tampabay News

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Uber Driver Accused of Armed Robbery, Kidnapping in Hillsborough
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Uber Driver Accused of Armed Robbery, Kidnapping in Hillsborough
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Hillsborough sheriff's deputies said he voluntarily admitted to being the mastermind behind the plan.
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TB Reporter
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