Local Uber driver arrested for stealing iPhone, she says that’s not what happened

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - A local female Uber driver was arrested because her passenger said she stole his phone. The driver says that's not what happened at all.

Sylvia Hogge has been driving with Uber for two and a half years.

"I enjoy driving because I get to meet so many different people," said Hogge. She also loves the flexibility that comes with the job since she's a student and single Mom.

But over the weekend, there was a warrant out for her arrest. Norfolk Police said one of Hogge's passengers claimed she stole his iPhone. Hogge said he left it in her car and she answered when he called from a friend's phone.

"It was him saying I needed to stop everything I was doing and bring him his phone immediately. I told him I could not because I had a passenger in the vehicle and I would get up with him first thing in the morning to return it to him," said Hogge.

However, Hogge said that's when the passenger got angry and said she was stealing it and he would be tracking her and will come show up and get his phone.

"I knew that it had something to do with his phone. I was scared not just for myself, but for my passengers because if he was tracking everything, he would see here I would stop for pickups, he would see here I stopped for drop offs," said Hogge.

According to Uber's policy for lost items, if you leave something in the car, Uber can help connect you directly to your driver. If the driver picks up and confirms your item has been found, a mutually convenient time and place can be coordinated. However, the policy also goes on to say the passenger should be considerate of the driver's personal schedule and neither Uber nor the drivers are responsible for items left in a vehicle after the trip ends.

Hogge said she went on driving that night and around 2:30 a.m. the father of her children contacted her.

"He told me there was a gentleman on his front step, banging on his door demanding to know where his phone is. I not only feared for his safety, but my children were sleeping there as well," said Hogge. She believed the passenger used her license plate, which is provided by Uber, to find the address her car was registered to.

Hogge said the passenger called Virginia Beach Police while at her children's father's home. She said an officer called her saying she needed to return the phone immediately. Shortly after, she drove to a Virginia Beach Police precinct, dropped off the passenger's phone, then went home and went to sleep. She thought it was case closed. When she woke up, a warrant for felony grand larceny was issued after a police officer and detective called while she was sleeping.

"Before going in to to turn myself in I was definitely very scared. I had no idea what to expect," said Hogge.

Now, she has a message to other drivers.

"I just want everyone to know, that this could happen to anyone at any point in time. I need everyone to know that if you have a left item in your vehicle, a report it to Uber, and return it to the police station immediately," said Hogge.

Hogge will be in court later this month. She set up a YouCaring page to help pay for an attorney. News 3 went to the passenger's listed address, no one answered the door.