Ten men have been robbed while attempting to meet with women they’ve connected with online in what the Sacramento Police Department is calling a social networking robbery trend, said department spokesman Sgt. Bryce Heinlein.
The 10 robberies have spanned two weeks and are not exclusive to any specific part of the city, Heinlein said.
The two most recent robberies were reported in the early hours of Friday morning within about a block of each other near the Broadway corridor. The first report came in around 12:18 a.m. when a man said he was robbed at gunpoint by two masked people while he was in his car at Kit Carson and Marsh streets.
In that case, the victim said he was at the location after booking a date with a woman on a social media forum. The armed robbers took an undisclosed amount from him before leaving.
Roughly 17 minutes later, another person called police from the 700 block of Marsh Street and reported that he had been robbed of his wallet at gunpoint by two people. The second victim said he was at the location because he had agreed to meet with a woman he had met in an online forum.
“It was kind of a catalyst to get this out to the community,” Heinlein said.
Though Friday’s robberies were likely connected, Heinlein said, police do not yet know whether the tactic was being used by one group or by several different groups of people. So far, most victims in the robbery trend have been approached by multiple suspects armed with guns. Some have been physically assaulted.
Heinlein said he would not disclose which specific online sites were used to lure victims. The sites ranged from dating websites to online forums where people can post things for sale, he said.
The Police Department is encouraging people to use caution when meeting people from an online platform to sell or purchase an item, or to go on a date. Police recommend that interactions with people met online occur during the day in a public place and that individuals are accompanied by someone they know.