THE INVESTIGATORS: Man charged in attempted kidnapping at LSU posed as DoorDash delivery driver
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The man who was arrested and eventually charged in the attempted kidnapping plot at LSU posed as a delivery driver with DoorDash, the 9News Investigators have learned.
Lazariel Archilla was arrested for allegedly trying to abduct a student while delivering food just outside Acadian Hall on Thursday, August 25, 2022.
While LSU Police initially said Archilla tried to kidnap the student, a spokesman with the university tells WAFB that after interviews with the suspect and the victim, Archilla was charged with simple battery and simple assault. He was also not booked into parish prison but instead issued a ticket.
WAFB has learned Archilla was never an actual driver for DoorDash but he somehow was able to access the platform to make deliveries.
A representative with DoorDash released the following statement to WAFB:
“Make no mistake - there is no place on DoorDash for serious or violent criminals. Each and every prospective US Dasher must undergo a rigorous screening process, including a criminal background check and identity verification. Since 2014, we’ve completed background checks on more than 20 million people in the US. Anyone who fails to meet the screening standards is not allowed on the platform. While we work extremely hard to prevent bad actors from ever using our platform, no screening process - however thorough or sophisticated - is perfect. In this case, the alleged perpetrator was not a Dasher and broke our strict rules to fraudulently access the platform to complete the delivery. While this is an extremely rare occurrence, it is totally unacceptable, and we do not tolerate it. Both the alleged perpetrator and the person who created the account have been banned from our platform, and we are assisting law enforcement with their investigation. We hope justice is swiftly served in this case.”
DoorDash believes Archilla somehow was able to get into his brother’s account, posing as the brother to make the deliveries. Both men have been banned from the platform as the investigation continues.
Carmen Million with the Better Business Bureau said it is a dangerous reality when customers order food through an online delivery service.
”You have to be cautious. You have to protect yourself and at any time, anything can happen and when you’re talking about these particular delivery companies, they are in some cases hiring people off the street and they don’t necessarily have to wear uniforms,” said Million.
Million says it is a good idea for users to confirm the name of the delivery driver and the type of car that driver will arrive in.
In this case, the guy who showed up at LSU was not the person who was linked to the DoorDash account but unlike with other apps, when customers order through DoorDash, they do not get to see a picture of their delivery driver. Million believes that is a problem.
”Well it’s a problem because anybody can show up and impersonate an employee of that particular company which is basically it seems like what happened here,” Million added. WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked Million if she believes the company should make changes to allow users to see pictures of their delivery driver.
“Oh it’s definitely something they should look into,” said Million. “In fact, I would recommend that they look at other companies’ policies and see what they’re doing and adapt some of those policies that would better protect their employees and their clients.”
Anytime folks order food online, Million says users need to keep safety top of mind. She suggests having someone with them when the food is dropped off and making sure they are in a well-lit area if the food is delivered somewhere like a college campus.
“You have to be your first line of defense,” said Million.“You have to protect yourself so you have to be aware of where you’re going to be when they deliver it. If they’re going to come to your door, you don’t want to let them in.”
While she says users have to protect themselves, Million also says DoorDash can use what happened at LSU as a learning experience. ”This may never have happened with the company but it’s an opportunity for them to make changes to ensure that it doesn’t happen again,” Million added.
Late Thursday, Sept. 1, LSU police released new details about the incident.
An initial report from LSU police says the victim told officials she ordered food from a Panera Bread restaurant near the campus dorm.
The suspect allegedly met the victim outside and told her to “get into the car” and “come here” while grabbing the victim’s wrist and pulling the victim into his car, the report says.
Another person intervened in the situation and left with the victim, police learned. The suspect then responded by yelling “derogatory statements and physical threats toward them before driving away,” the report states.
LSU officials say documents from their investigation have been submitted to the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Office for review.
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