A service member at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is charged with the Wednesday carjacking and kidnapping of a taxi driver in Rockville, according to court records and a hospital spokeswoman.
Andrew Gerald Roberts, 23, was arrested Friday in the incident, according to Montgomery County police who said Roberts and a female passenger had been picked up by the cabbie from what police identified as the National Naval Medical Center at 8901 Wisconsin Ave. in Bethesda.
Roberts gave the Walter Reed center at that location and a building and room number on the hospital campus as his address, online court records show. Walter Reed spokeswoman Sandy Dean confirmed Monday that he was a service member residing there. Health privacy laws, she said, prevented her from saying whether he is a patient. She declined to say in which branch he is enlisted.
Rockville police were called to the Target store at 5700 Bou Avenue at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday for a reported car theft involving a taxi. According to police, the cab driver said he had picked up Roberts and a companion who asked to be driven to Target. Roberts rode in the front seat and at the store told the cab driver to get out of the taxi, police said.
The driver refused and Roberts said “it would not be a good idea,” police said. Roberts allegedly forced the driver into the passenger’s seat and then drove away from the store with the cabbie and the woman still in the taxi, according to police, traveling southbound on Rockville Pike and having a minor accident near Old Georgetown Road before returning to the store’s parking garage.
Roberts and his companion left the cab without paying the $18.50 fare, police said, and were later allegedly seen on store surveillance tape shopping.
They paid for those items and hailed another cab, paying that fare, police said. .
The role of the woman in the incident remains under investigation, said police. Roberts is charged with kidnapping, carjacking, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, unauthorized removal of property, theft $1,000 to under $10,000, theft less than $100, and two traffic violations related to the collision.