Uber driver plays the victim to rob 74-year-old, deputies say

A 74-year-old Longboat Key woman says she thought she was going to die when, deputies say, an Uber driver and an accomplice kidnapped her and robbed her. 

It happened Halloween night after she left the Seminole Hard Rock Casino east of Tampa at around 9 p.m.  Hillsborough County deputies say the Uber driver, Christian Noda, circled the casino that night. 

"He was specifically waiting for somebody to come out of that casino to target so he could facilitate this robbery," stated Cpl. Larry McKinnon, a Hillsborough Sherriff’s Office spokesperson. 

After picking the woman up, deputies say, the driver stopped at a gas station along U.S. 301, saying he needed air in a tire. Deputies say that's when a man wearing a mask jumped into the car. 

The driver yelled, "Do what he says; he has a gun!" according to McKinnon. But he says the driver was just trying to make it look like he was a victim when he was really an accomplice. 

"It was definitely a scam created between the two of them," McKinnon stated. 

They took the woman to at least two ATM's, but when she could only get $500, she says they got angry and she thought they would harm her. 

After driving around the area for nearly an hour, they released her at a Speedway gas station in Dover -- shaken, but uninjured. 

Deputies went to the Orlando area to talk to Noda, the Uber driver. 

"During that interview we found two of the victim's poker chips in his pocket," said McKinnon. 

He says Noda then confessed that he planned the scheme with the masked man. 

Deputies say they are still searching for that second suspect. They believe he was armed with a pellet gun or a replica firearm,  but the charges will be the same -- armed robbery and armed kidnapping.

Deputies ask anyone with information on his identity and whereabouts to contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 813-247-8200 or Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay at 1-800-873-8477.