- The Washington Times - Monday, December 12, 2011

A man staying at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center has been charged with the carjacking and kidnapping of a taxicab driver who picked him up outside the Bethesda facility, officials said Monday.

Montgomery County police said Andrew Gerald Roberts, 23, commandeered the cab after the driver took him and a female passenger to a Target store located about 5 miles away.

Medical center spokeswoman Sandy Dean confirmed that Mr. Roberts was a service member staying at the center but said for privacy reasons she could not say how long he had been there or what branch of military he was with.

Mr. Roberts, who has no prior criminal history in Maryland, according to online court records, called a taxi to request a pick up from the hospital Thursday afternoon, Montgomery County police spokesman Officer Howard Hersh said.

Mr. Roberts and the female passenger became “verbally abusive” toward the driver while en route. When they arrived at the Target store in Rockville, Mr. Roberts ordered the driver out of the car and told him “it would not be a good idea” to call the police when he refused to exit the car, police said. He forced the cab driver into the passenger seat of the car while the woman remained in the back seat. Mr. Roberts drove the cab south on Rockville Pike, back toward the medical center, hitting another car along the way.

Mr. Roberts then drove the cab back to the Target where he and the woman left the driver in the cab and went into the store to shop. The cab driver was not injured, Officer Hersh said.

Police used surveillance video from the store to identify the pair and arrested Mr. Roberts on Friday, Officer Hersh said.

In addition to the kidnapping and carjacking charges, Mr. Roberts also faces charges of theft and traffic violations related to the accident. The woman who was in the cab with Mr. Roberts has not been charged.

According to Maryland court records, Mr. Roberts was released on $3,500 bond Saturday.

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