A livery driver from Quincy parked his minivan in a quiet location near the Seaport District and raped a young woman who had entered his car thinking it was a taxi last weekend, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Hashi K. Said, 40, pleaded not guilty to rape, assault, and robbery charges in South Boston Municipal Court. Judge Michael Bolden ordered him held on $35,000 bail.
The woman, who is in her 20s, told authorities she was trying to hail a cab on Northern Avenue late Saturday when a white minivan pulled over, according to a police report. She got in, thinking it was a cab. The driver, whom the woman later identified as Said in a police photo array, allegedly took her to an unidentified location nearby and entered the back seat.
The man fondled the woman over her clothes, according to a police report. When he tried to take off her dress, the woman told officers, she hit him. After that, she said, she blacked out, prosecutor William Champlin said in court Wednesday.
According to the police report, the driver dropped the woman off on State Street downtown. She realized her iPhone, credit card, debit card, and about $40 were missing.
A $427 charge appeared on the debit card from a livery service. The credit card was used for a $33.96 purchase at a Walgreen’s on Gallivan Boulevard and a $52 purchase at a gas station in Quincy, police said.
Champlin said authorities spotted Said’s image on surveillance footage from Walgreens. When the woman was later shown a photo array, according to the report, she wrote under Said’s picture: “I recognize this man from Saturday. I think he may have been my cab driver.”
Boston police arrested Said Tuesday. His lawyer, Allan Levin, declined to comment Wednesday beyond saying that his client denies the allegations.
Levin argued for $5,000 bail for Said, who is a self-employed livery driver with an airport shuttle service, he said.
The attorney said Said, who also goes by the name Said Said, according to prosecutors, used to be a licensed cab driver in Boston. Levin said Said moved to the United States from Somalia in 1992, became a US citizen in 1999, and has a wife who is pregnant with the couple’s fifth child.
Saturday night’s assault mirrors one that occurred in August and began in the Seaport District. In that case, a woman said she was picked up near Northern Avenue by an unregistered taxi, taken to Newton, and raped. The case is still open, police said.
After that assault, there were calls for increased enforcement and regulation of livery drivers, who are only allowed to pick people up who have called ahead for a car. Livery drivers do not go through background checks.
Said’s driving record is rife with speeding, lane violations, and failure to stop citations.
Donna Blythe-Shaw, representing the Boston Taxi Drivers Association, again called for increased regulation of liveries.
“They just don’t do weddings and big events,” she said.
David Procopio, a spokesman for the State Police, who have jurisdiction in the Seaport District, said the assault is not a problem with all livery services. Still, he said, troopers will increase enforcement in the area.
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