NewsLocal News


South Salt Lake robbery turns into prostitution investigation

Posted at 10:29 AM, Aug 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-02 23:31:57-04

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah -- Police in South Salt Lake arrested a Salt Lake man on charges of sexual solicitation and aggravated robbery, after officers said the suspect robbed a ride share service driver in a hotel room.

However, the ride share service has confirmed that the victim claiming to work for them is not one of their drivers. And while the victim said he was robbed of his cell phone while trying to help carry luggage, the suspect said the encounter was about "hooking up."

According to police, 27-year old Thomas Patrick Cooper holed himself up in the hotel room for three hours Thursday morning.

Police originally responded to a report of a barricaded suspect at the Ramada Inn at 2455 South State Street. Police said that suspect robbed an Uber driver while wielding a stun gun. Gary Keller with South Salt Lake Police explained the story they were first told-- that an Uber driver responded to a ride at the Ramada Inn.

"At some point-- I'm not sure how-- but, the Uber driver leaves his vehicle and goes upstairs to help with luggage, or something," Keller stated.

That victim, Lansing Reaveley, told Fox 13 he drives for Uber and said he was called to the hotel to pick up a customer.

"My boss told me that there was going to be an extra tip, if I went in the room to help somebody out to get their luggage," Reaveley stated.

Reaveley said that when he arrived at the hotel room, the person invited him inside, then shut and locked the door.

"Somebody answered said, they said, 'Come in,'" he said. "I came in, they said, 'Have a seat.' I took a seat, and they pulled out a taser and a gun, demanded money and phone."

Police said a gun and taser were not involved in the incident, and that the suspect pulled out a stun gun.

"Survival mode kicked in," Reaveley said. "I stood up, and I knew the door was locked because I heard him lock it, unlocked it, opened the door and took off. And that's when he's all, 'I'm going to kill you, bro.' And, I just ran downstairs."

"The suspect let the Uber driver go. Took his cell phone and said, 'Okay, you can leave,'" Keller said.

After the encounter, and three-hour barricade situation, police took Cooper into custody peacefully.

As officers walked Cooper to the patrol car in handcuffs, he said, "I didn't do it. He wasn't an Uber driver, he was supposed to be hooking up. That was it. He came over here. He text me, this morning."

“What do you think is going to happen, dude? Like honestly, what do you think is going to happen?" Reaveley asked. "If you are going to rob somebody, leave right after they leave... like come on, man. You use a fake name and everything like that, you have a different appearance, you know. So, everybody just be careful out there."

Cooper is now facing charges of offer/agree to commit sexual act for a fee, felony aggravated robbery and unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon.

Uber confirmed to Fox 13 Thursday evening that Reaveley doesn't drive for them, and a spokesperson said Uber is not involved in the incident.

"We don't have anyone with that name matching up with a driver account on the app," Kayla Whaling stated, in an email.