Winnipeg police are offering dating advice after a man was attacked, robbed and kidnapped during what was supposed to be a date set up online.
It’s the fourth recent example of men being lured into dangerous situations by the promise of romance on internet dating sites.
“It is checking your facts before you go,” Winnipeg police spokeswoman Const. Tammy Skrabek said on Thursday. “The internet can be a horrible thing and the internet can be a good thing.
“It is trusting your instincts.”
A man told officers that on Dec. 20 he went to a residence on the 300 block of Maryland Street around midnight after making arrangements with a woman he was chatting with on an online dating site, Skrabek said.
The man, in his early 30s, was let in by two women, and when they asked for money he objected, saying it was supposed to be “a consensual encounter.”
That’s when three men emerged, demanded money, and then attacked him.
The victim tried to escape by breaking a window, but he was overpowered after being struck several times with a metal object.
The victim was tied up, forced into the backseat of his vehicle, and driven to his own house where valuables were taken before being driven somewhere else where the attackers abandoned him in the vehicle, Skrabek said.
The victim extricated himself from his bonds and called police.
Five suspects were arrested at the same residence the victim went to on Maryland, while a sixth later turned herself in.
A 33-year-old woman, 27-year-old man, two girls aged 15 and 17, and a 16-year-old boy have been charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault and robbery. All have been detained in custody.
A 20-year-old man has also been arrested and released on a promise to appear in court.
It’s not the first time a Winnipegger has been attacked after setting up a meeting on an online dating site.
A man was stabbed and assaulted — all while being broadcast live on social media — after using a dating website to arrange a meeting with someone at a home in the city in April 2017.
Someone saw the attack on social media and called police, who were able to save the victim and arrested three people. He was rushed to hospital in unstable condition, but he was soon upgraded to stable.
And on July 23, 2016, a 30-year-old man endured a four-hour nightmare when he found a woman through an online dating website and went to her North End home. He was met by a woman and a man, and they shared a meal together before another man showed up and the victim was attacked and forced to ingest a substance.
The trio forced him to divulge his bank account PIN, allowing them to withdrawal money from his account, before driving the victim to the north Perimeter Highway where they steered his vehicle into a ditch and left him there. He was later treated for stab wounds.
And in another similar incident, a 24-year-old man was robbed and pepper-sprayed this past August after arriving at a location for what he thought was a meeting with a woman he had contacted on a dating website.
The woman approached him while the victim was still in his car before three other people came up to the vehicle, pepper sprayed him and pulled him out of the vehicle. All four drove off in his car, leaving the victim behind.
Police said at the time the online profile the victim saw on the site was a fake one set up to lure a person into being robbed.