QUEENS (PIX11) -- A phony livery driver who tried to rape a mother and hurt her young children was arrested in Queens Friday morning, police said.
Pedro Vargas, 48, of Yonkers, faces several charges including one misdemeanor count and two felony counts of assault and three counts of endangering the life of a child.
Sexual assault charges are pending, authorities said.
Police said the 26-year-old woman and her children — ages 1, 3, and 5 — were picked up about 2:45 a.m. Wednesday allegedly by Vargas, who claimed to be a cab driver, on 207th Street in Manhattan.
When they arrived at their destination in the Elmhurst section of Queens, the driver was caught on camera attacking the woman. Police said he was trying to sexually assault her.
As the woman fought back and tried to escape with her children, the attacker elbowed one of the children and tossed another out of the car before fleeing.
On Vargas' Facebook account he showcases himself decked out in front of a high-priced BMW just yards away from where the NYPD picked him up on Thursday in Yonkers. He also lists a site called "Professional Ladies Escort" as one of his likes.
However, these pictures do not portray Vargas violent past. For that, one has to examine his October 30, 2012 hearing before the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Board of Parole.
In the document, it details why he was sentenced to 15-years to life. In September of 1993, Vargas robbed a boutique on Madison Avenue. During the hold-up, Vargas ordered employees into a basement and instructed the women to walk him out of the building. He also admits to two other crimes at the hearing.
Vargas's response to an inquiry as to whether he changed his ways... "Oh my God, I'm grown-up. I don't lash out. I don't blame situations and feel that people owe me. I left my arrogant ways, I can deal with anger and frustrations."
It was not immediately known what led to Vargas' arrest. Soon after the attack, police released a sketch and asked for the public's help to find the culprit, who was described as having an earring in his right ear and manicured eyebrows.
Vargas is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Queens Criminal Court.
The case highlighted the importance of safety when it comes to picking up a ride in the city.
Below are ways to keep yourself safe when getting into a cab or livery car:
- Livery cars are pre-arranged. If a car that you did not call stops for you, do not get into it.
- If you are accepting a ride from what you believe to be a livery vehicle, always check the license plate — it should start with a “T,” end with a “C” and have six numbers in between, like “T111111C.”
- It should also have the base name, license number and telephone number on both sides of the vehicle.
- There should be a diamond-shaped TLC decal inside the windshield and two round decals with base information on the rear windows.
- It’s OK to get into a green Boro Taxi with TLC license plates. These vehicles also have a roof light with a license number on it. There will also be a partition and taximeter inside.
- It’s OK to get into a yellow taxi — which will have a license plate with a “number-letter-number-number” sequence, like “1A23.”