A woman who was reportedly kidnapped by a fake Uber driver made a lucky escape by passing a chilling note to a stranger.
It is believed the woman was picked up from a car dealership by a Honda van on Monday morning (August 21) before being reported missing.
However, she came up with a cunning idea to save herself when she entered a Chevron shop in Arizona, US, and passed a customer a note at around 5pm on Tuesday (August 22).
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"Help," the note read, before revealing her name and number. "Call 911. Blue Honda van… going towards Kingman Las Vegas."
The stranger immediately called police who rushed to the scene, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said.
"The customer relayed that the van had just left westbound on I-40, and provided descriptions of the clothing for both the woman and the man with whom she was traveling," the sheriff’s office said.
Officers quickly located the van and arrested Jacob Wilhoit, 41, who had previously been identified as a person of interest after the woman's initial alleged kidnapping.
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The sheriff's office added: "He was wearing a wig and pretending to be an Uber driver.
"Wilhoit restrained her as they drove to Las Vegas and spent the night at a Lake Mead park."
Authorities also found a number of guns in plain view of the suspect's van.
Wilhoit has now been charged with kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, aggravated assault, harassment, and threatening and intimidating behaviour.
The woman has not been identified and it is unclear why she was allegedly targeted.
It was also not immediately evident how she managed to get to the petrol station to pass on the note – but authorities said the move saved her.
"The victim’s extraordinary action in passing the note, the customer’s willingness to assist, and the quick actions of [law enforcement] saved the victim from her kidnapper and allowed her to return home with her family," the sheriff's office said.
Department spokesperson Kristin Green added the woman is traumatised following the ordeal.
Speaking to Arizona Family, she said: "We’re confident that she’ll get through it. And obviously she wants to see this man put away. She’s still in a state of shock about all of this."
Praising the customer, she added: "It’s really no skin off your back to take the person seriously and make the call to 911.
"If it turns out it’s some kind of hoax, no harm, no foul. But don’t just automatically discount it."
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