A 19-year-old man was kidnapped and robbed in New Haven on Tuesday afternoon after police said he tried to meet someone he had met through a dating app.
The victim, who is from Bridgeport, told police that he met a “woman” through the online website KIK. The user asked the victim to meet her on Elizabeth Street, according to police.
The victim told police that he never met the person and only knew the person by the user name “Sunshine.”
When the victim arrived on Elizabeth Street there were two men, but no woman. Both men were in possession of handguns, according to police.
Police said an unidentified man “grabbed the victim, roughed him up and threw him in the back of their Ford Explorer before heading off to an unknown location in Hamden.”
During the drive, the victim told police that the Ford Explorer stopped to pick up an acquaintance of the men. That man also had a gun.
The vehicle stopped again, and police said the victim’s iPhone7 and $100 were taken from him.
The victim said he was eventually left in Hamden, but was helped by a Good Samaritan, who was able to call police and drove him back to New Haven.
Dating apps are very popular, but users need to be careful.
Another similar incident happened in New Haven a few days before this one where a 21-year-old man from Waterbury was supposed to meet a woman he had talked to through the app MeetMe.
However, after getting out of his car in the area of Elm and Orchard streets, the victim said he was approached by three or four men who robbed and assaulted him.
Police are looking to see if these two incidents are related.
Experts warn that when meeting someone for the first time to do so in a spot where you know other people will be.
"You want to make sure that you're meeting in a public, well known restaurant or a place that you're familiar with, and not a place someone on the other end of that email, website, is enticing you to go to," said Brian Kelly, chief security information officer with Quinnipiac University.
Police are investigating this recent incident in New Haven, and released descriptions of the suspects.
One man was described as 5'7" with a thin build, goatee and hair in a ponytail. He was wearing a black and white bandanna and a black hooded sweatshirt during the incident, police said.
The second man was also described as 5'7" with a thin build. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and a tan ski mask that covered a portion of her face during the incident, police said.
The third man was also described as 5'7" with a medium build. He was wearing a black ski mask covering only the lower part of his face during the incident, police said.
Anyone with any information about incident and suspects should call the New Haven Police Department at 203-946-6316.
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