Man found guilty of kidnapping Lyft driver at gunpoint for ride to DC

WASHINGTON — A California man has been found guilty of federal charges for kidnapping a Lyft driver and ordering him at gunpoint to drive him more than 70 miles from Maryland to an apartment building in D.C. last December.

Shane Browne, 27, also was found guilty of narcotics charges stemming from the Dec. 11 incident in which he forced his Lyft driver to take him on a possible drug-buying mission, according to officials.

On the afternoon of Dec. 11, Browne — who had been briefly living in D.C. after a residency in Beverly Hills, California — requested a 72-mile Lyft ride to take him from apartments in the 2400 block of Calvert Street in Northwest D.C. to a Red Roof Inn in Aberdeen, Maryland.

The driver took Browne to Aberdeen, but growing suspicious, parted ways with him at a McDonald’s there. The driver refused to give Browne a trip back to D.C. from Aberdeen, according to court documents from prosecutors.

Browne returned about 30 minutes later with a suitcase and eventually got back into the same Lyft car without the driver’s permission. When the driver continued to refuse to drive Browne back to D.C., Browne took out a gun, held it to the driver’s head and demanded the ride, court documents state.

“The Lyft driver indicated that [Browne] continued to point the handgun at him and intermittently touched his head with the gun throughout most of the rest of the ride, including after the vehicle crossed state lines and entered D.C.,” according to the court documents.

At some point during the drive back to D.C., the driver emailed Lyft saying that he was in trouble.

The driver dropped Browne off at the D.C. apartments, and then used OnStar to contact 911. D.C. police arrived and detained Browne when he left the unit.

A search warrant executed at the apartment the next day recovered about 78 pounds of marijuana in suitcases similar to the one that Browne had placed in the Lyft driver’s car, approximately $35,000 in cash, a cash-counting machine and other items. No firearm was recovered in the search.

Browne — who has been in custody since his Dec. 11 arrest — was found guilty Wednesday of charges of kidnapping and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

His sentencing is set for July 24. He could face 10 to 12 1/2 years in prison, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia. The charges carry a maximum of 25 years in prison.

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