NEW YORK (WABC) — Police are investigating a pattern in the Bronx in which victims were lured via a social media dating web site, then robbed.
The incidents took place during December and January. In five cases, investigators say men communicated with a woman via the dating web site and agreed to meet her at a location on Park Avenue.
They were then confronted by two or three men who robbed them of their property, including wallets, iPhones, cash, and in one case, an electric scooter.
In one of the incidents, police say a suspect displayed a knife and placed the victim in a head lock while a second suspect went through his pockets.
In two other cases, a suspect simulated a firearm in his pocket while a second suspect pushed victims to the ground and stole their wallets and cell phones.
No one was seriously injured in the incidents.
So far police have arrested two men in the case.
23-year-old Nathaniel Baptiste faces multiple charges, including robbery, menacing, and false personation.
32-year-old George Livermoore is charged with robbery.
Police are searching for a third man for questioning, describing him as a black male, approximately 25-30 years old, 6′ tall, with a light complexion, slim build, a heavy beard and short, curly black hair. Police say he used a stolen ATM card to make unauthorized withdrawals.
The NYPD is also looking for a person of interest identified as 16-year-old Janessia Roberts, who is wanted for questioning regarding the online dating accounts used to lure the victims to 3428 Park Avenue.
Police released an image obtained from her dating website account
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.