Rideshare driver robbed at gunpoint in southeast Austin, affidavit says

Robert Cody James Sarah Montejano

Photo: Austin Police Department

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A rideshare driver was robbed at gunpoint by two customers he picked up at a southeast Austin hotel Friday morning, according to an Austin police arrest affidavit.

Police say the driver picked up Robert Cody James, 28, and Sarah Montejano, 22, at a hotel off East Oltorf Street around 8:50 a.m. Friday and was directed to drive them to another hotel off Woodward Street and Interstate 35.

As the trip was coming to an end, the driver says James showed a small, black handgun and pointed it at the driver’s lower hip area, the affidavit says.

James told the driver to keep driving and to not make any sudden moves or he would “put a bullet in him,” the victim told police in the affidavit.

The affidavit says James told the victim to drive to an ATM and withdraw $500 from his bank account. James also told the driver to give him his wallet while pointing the gun at the victim. Then, James told the driver to go to another ATM to withdraw more money.

While stopped at the intersection of FM 969 and Ed Bluestein Boulevard, the driver noticed both of the suspects were looking down at their phones, police say. The driver decided to jump out of the car and run east on FM 969 to escape. The victim says he called police once he felt far enough away from the suspects, the affidavit says.

Around 18 minutes after the victim called police, officers saw the driver’s now stolen vehicle park at the the hotel of the original pickup location. James and Montejano ran as an officer attempted to make contact with them, the affidavit says.

While viewing surveillance video from the hotel, police say two people, matching the description of James and Montejano, pull into the parking lot with the suspect’s vehicle. The video showed James placing something under the front right wheel well of the victim’s car, running away as police arrived, the affidavit says.

During a search of the victim’s vehicle, police say they found a black, semiautomatic handgun in the wheel well.

The affidavit says James admitted to forcing the driver at gun point to drive to an ATM and withdraw money. James told police he and Montejano drove the victim’s vehicle back to the hotel after the rideshare driver ran away.

Police found $569 on James when he was detained, which is the exact amount reported to police by the victim, the affidavit says. James has been charged with Aggravated Kidnapping, a first degree felony. His bond is set at $50,000.

KXAN has reached out to James’ attorney and will update this story with additional details.

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