Crime & Courts

USC students alerted about man posing as driver, holding females against their will

Farris Kaloti
Farris Kaloti

Law enforcement is searching for a man who has allegedly posed as an rideshare driver to pick up young women, including University of South Carolina students, and held them against their will – with one claiming he assaulted a female while offering her a ride home.

Farris Kaloti, 28, is wanted by the University of South Carolina Police and the Columbia Police Department, according to multiple reports.

A Carolina Alert crime bulletin was issued Tuesday evening related about Kaloti, dailygamecock.com reported.

Kaloti allegedly offered rides to females/students taking them to places other than their desired destinations and refusing to let them out of the vehicle, wach.com reported.

On Nov. 26, two females, ages 21 and 18, reported to the Columbia Police Department that they got a ride from Kaloti. One female described feeling uncomfortable during the trip and getting out of the car.

In an attempt to help her friend follow suit, CPD said Kaloti allegedly pushed and pulled the first female, while trying to prevent the other female from leaving.

After a brief struggle, Kaloti drove away from the scene, according to CPD. The injured female went to a local hospital to receive medical treatment for scrapes and bruises to her leg.

Kaloti is listed in Richland County court records as a resident of Miami.

According to the alert, Kaloti “is not affiliated” with USC, but he “is reported to have been on and around campus.”

According to a post on Twitter from Drinking Ticket, “an overwhelming number of students (have) come forward saying that they have been approached by Farris Kaloti. He has approached students all over campus from Russell House all the way to Columbia Hall and Capstone.

“Mr. Kaloti has also approached students all over the Five Points, Devine Street, and Forest Acres areas.”

Another tweet, from Emma Leigh, alleged Kaloti posed as an Uber driver to pick up a couple of girls who live in the same dorm as the girl writing the Twitter post. She tweeted Kaloti “passed our street, and kept driving and said he was taking them to his house and did inappropriate things to them and one had to go to the hospital.”

She included a mug shot of Kaloti with her post, adding “I just wanted everyone to see his face and stay away from him.”

On Oct. 8, Kaloti was arrested in Newberry County and charged with giving false information to a police officer, possession of marijuana, and obtaining signatures under false pretenses.

He ordered two salads at one establishment, ate and left without paying, according to the arrest report.

He then went into a Shell gas station across the street and claimed his wallet had been stolen and had no money for gas. Another customer reportedly gave Kaloti $4, and he used $3 for gas and opened a salsa, which cost $2.

When he learned he didn’t have enough money for the open salsa, Kaloti left it before departing the store and attempting to open car doors before returning to the pump, where he was arrested by Newberry County Sheriff’s deputies.

His red car was towed when he was arrested, and it was discovered he was wanted for a crime in Florida, but it was non-extraditable.

Kaloti couldn’t pay the $1,615 bond, so remained in jail until his Oct. 25 court date, when he pleaded guilty and was released for time served.

Kaloti was charged in September 2013 with resisting an officer with violence and resisting an officer without violence, according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement criminal history check. Records show that the charges were dropped and the case was resolved through the state’s pretrial diversion program.

Kaloti was arrested by Miami police in March on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence, which is still pending, according to law enforcement records. He was arrested again in September on a charge of violating a domestic violence protective order.

In 2012, Kaloti was arrested on suspicion of sexually battering a teen girl, santacruzsentinel.com reported. The 14-year-old victim was with friends when Kaloti allegedly approached and grabbed her in a sexual manner, police said.

Kaloti, who resisted arrest, was described as a transient from Florida, santacruzsentinel.com reported.

Anyone with information is asked to call the USC Police Department at 803-777-4215, or Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

Staff writer Teddy Kulmala contributed to this report.

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