A man was held hostage and robbed at gunpoint after he agreed to meet up with a woman he connected with on a dating app, police said.
The incident occurred on Saturday, when a 30-year-old man contacted the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department informing them that he had been kidnapped and robbed at an apartment complex in Parkland, Washington — about 8 miles south of Tacoma — according to a statement released on social media by authorities.
The victim told deputies that he had matched with a woman on the dating app Plenty of Fish and subsequently decided to drive over to her apartment complex to meet her in person, police say.
“He said he was in her apartment for about five minutes when a man appeared and pointed a gun at him,” the statement read. “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 involved in the case then ordered the victim to unlock his cell phone and transfer $6,000 over to one of their accounts but the transaction ended up failing because it was flagged as fraudulent, said the PCSD.
Numerous other attempts to transfer money were made using various apps and, according to the PCSD, the suspects even posed as the victim over the phone in an attempt to try and get one of his accounts unlocked.
The suspects eventually released the man after approximately three hours but told the victim that they would send the nude photos they took of him to everybody in his contact list if he informed authorities or told anybody what happened.
The victim ended up informing the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department anyway and, following a short investigation on social media, police were able to identify the suspects who took the victim hostage, police said.
Deputies were dispatched to the same apartment complex in Parkland the following day and said they recognized the male suspect from the robbery upon arrival. But when police made an attempt to arrest the male suspect who was allegedly involved in the robbery, the man allegedly made a move to pull out a gun.
“As deputies attempted to handcuff him, the suspect reached for a gun inside his pocket,” read the statement from the PCSD. “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.”
The suspect continued to cause problems while he was being transported to the police precinct and managed to break the car’s interior door panel as well as the top of the seatbelt fastener and attempted to use them in an unsuccessful attempt to escape from the vehicle, police said.
The suspect has since been charged 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.
Said PCSD: “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.”
A 19-year-old woman who police identified as a suspect involved in the case was also arrested at the Parkland apartment complex. She has since been 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.
Police have not yet released the suspects names.
The PCSD concluded with a warning about the dangers of online dating and being vigilant when meeting with somebody for the first time.
“We encourage everyone to review our online dating safety tips to help lessen your chance of becoming a victim,” said the PCSD. “We also encourage parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of meeting people online. Always do your research and trust your instinct.”