Pierce County Sheriff’s Department announcement.
This past Saturday, a man called 911 to report that he had been kidnapped and robbed by someone he met on a dating app.
The 30-year-old victim told deputies that he had met a woman on Plenty of Fish who presented herself as being similar in age to the victim. He drove to an apartment complex in Parkland to meet her in person. He said he was in her apartment for about five minutes when a man appeared and pointed a gun at him. The male suspect ordered the victim to remove his clothes and give the suspect his money. The female suspect then took photos of the victim.
The suspects ordered the victim to unlock his cell phone and then instructed him to transfer $6,000 to their account using an app. The transaction failed because it was flagged as fraudulent. The suspects made the victim attempt numerous other transactions via various apps and even posed as the victim over the phone to try to get an account unlocked.
The victim was finally released after three hours. The suspects threatened to send the nude photos to everyone in the victim’s contact list if he told anyone what happened.
Deputies worked with the victim to try to identify the suspects using social media apps and other means.
The following day, deputies were dispatched to the same apartment for a domestic violence assault. When they arrived, they recognized the male suspect from the robbery. As deputies attempted to handcuff him, the suspect reached for a gun inside his pocket. Deputies acted quickly and were able to prevent him from drawing the weapon. The 22-year-old suspect was arrested and placed in the back of a patrol vehicle.
According to the patrol car’s rear-facing camera, the suspect moved his handcuffs to the front of his body and broke the interior door panel in an attempt to escape. He also broke the top of the seatbelt fastener and used it as a tool to aid in his escape efforts. The car had to be taken out of service until repairs can be made.
Prosecutors charged the male suspect with robbery in the first degree, kidnapping in the first degree, extortion in the first degree, unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree, and malicious mischief in the first degree. His bail was set at $125,000.
The male suspect has multiple prior felony convictions, including a juvenile conviction for robbery in the first degree, and convictions for assault in the second degree and residential burglary as an adult. He also has a prior conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm and is currently on supervision with the Department of Corrections.
The 19-year-old female suspect was charged with robbery in the first degree, kidnapping in the first degree, and extortion in the first degree. Her bail was set at $50,000.
We encourage everyone to review our online dating safety tips to help lessen your chance of becoming a victim. We also encourage parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of meeting people online. Always do your research and trust your instinct.