Detectives in Polk County are searching for suspects who robbed a man at gunpoint when he was attempting to meet a woman he had been chatting with on an online dating app.
According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, a 24-year-old man was robbed at gunpoint on Tuesday night after meeting a woman he didn’t know on an on-line social media app. He began talking to the woman on an app called “MeetMe,” a dating app geared towards Latin Audiences.
He was hoping to meet up with a woman using the name “Annaliese.” He agreed to meet at a location she suggested near Auburndale. When he showed up at a mobile home for sale on Old Dixie Highway near Auburndale around 10:00 p.m., a woman was standing near a chain link fence at the entrance of the property.
The woman is described as a heavy-set Hispanic female in her mid to late 20s with dark hair. She was wearing blue pajama pants and a white tank top.
The robbery victim later told deputies that the woman did not match the picture of “Annaliese” on the MeetMe App.
She entered the victim’s pick-up truck and told him to continue driving down the dirt driveway towards the house. She told the victim to park approximately 100 feet away from the trailer.
The two of them exited his pick-up truck and an unknown black or Hispanic man with an average build in his late 20s to early 30s, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, approached the victim from behind and forced him to the ground. Then, according to the victim, the suspect placed a handgun against the back of his head and demanded his personal property.
The suspect stole the man’s cellular phone, wallet, and vehicle keys.
The suspect then told the victim to get up and walk away. The two suspects ran away towards Old Dixie Highway. The victim ran to a residence nearby where a neighbor called 9-1-1. His wallet—with the cash removed—was later found by deputies in the bed of the truck and the keys were found on the ground behind the truck.
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the victim in this case has been arrested twice in Polk County for soliciting prostitution.
“As country music singer Johnny Lee might say: ‘Looking for love in all the wrong places’ is not a good idea," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. "Please use common sense when you meet someone you don’t know online. If you meet someone, get as much information about them as possible before you meet, meet in a public place, bring a friend, and be careful. And if they don’t look like their profile photo, that’s a clue. Be safe out there!”
Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call Detective Mike Music at 863-298-6921. Anyone with information who wants to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS or log onto www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com.