NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police were on the hunt Sunday for one of the men they say used a social media dating web site to entice unsuspecting men to a location in the Bronx before robbing them.
Investigators say the man, along with two other men, lured six men to 3428 Park Ave. in the Morrisania section for the purpose of meeting a female. Instead, authorities say the men were confronted by two to three men who robbed them.
As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, police said the suspects set up a dating app profile for someone named “Nessa Love,” age 20. But police really said she was a 16-year-old named Janessia Roberts.
The men allegedly coaxed their victims using the dating website in five of the six incidents.
Only one of the victims suffered minor injuries in the robberies, which ranged from early December to late January.
Police said Roberts is not a suspect, but a person of interest but police want locate and talk to.
But police have arrested two men, 32-year-old George Livermore, of Queens, and 23-year-old Nathaniel Baptiste, of the Bronx, and are searching for a third. He’s described 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.
Investigators say the third man withdrew over $1,000 from several TD Bank locations using an ATM card stolen in one of the robberies.
Farrah Rene lives in the building where the suspects allegedly lured the victims. She said she dod not recognize Roberts, but was aware of the string of robberies in December and January.
The victims range in age from 19 to 27 years old. Police said the victims were confronted and then threatened with a weapon, in some cases a knife or a baseball bat.
They were robbed of their phones, wallets and one victim’s electric scooter.
Most of the attacks and robberies happened on the sidewalk, while one case was inside this lobby. The victims were held by one suspect and punched, and robbed by another.
“You have to be extra careful,” said security expert Manny Gomez
Gomez said such robberies are more common than you might think—and underreported.
“There was a shame factor to go to law enforcement,” Gomez said.
To vet a potential date, Gomez said you should sleuth around a bit on the internet and make the first meeting in a place with lots of people.
“The last thing you want to do is meet someone without knowing any type of background, especially meeting someplace of their choice,” he said.
Anyone with information in regards to this Robbery Pattern 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.