A Boynton Beach area man found out the hard way that trusting people you meet online may not be the smartest strategy when making friends, says Broward criminal attorney William Moore. The Broward County man, who is described as being in either his late teens or early twenties, met a woman on the popular social networking site MySpace. The pair chatted for awhile, according to Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer Moore, who has read about the case and cites it as an example of the need for caution in the era of technology.
The two exchanged phone numbers and he called the woman to continue their conversation or to make offline plans. Apparently interested in the woman, he agreed to her request that he come over and pick her up. Once there, the pair drove around for awhile. She then asked if they could pick up her friend, too. The man agreed, driving to the location of the woman’s friend. Once the three were all back in the car, the man had driven only a short distance when their new passenger pulled a handgun on him.
Broward criminal lawyer Moore says that what happens next is unfortunate. The man was lulled into a false sense of security and was probably hopeful about his relationship with the woman. He believed that they would be returning to the woman’s home after he had dropped off her friend at another location. All along, however, the meeting appears to have been a scam designed to pan out into an armed robbery. Once the friend had pulled the gun on the driver, additional acquaintances swarmed the car, assisting the passenger in taking the man’s wallet, car keys, and even his pants. The victim fled and contacted the police.
Fortunately, the robbers did not actually take his car. The pants-less victim returned with law enforcement officials to find his car still present at the scene, although he could not drive it because he no longer had possession of his car keys. As a result, the vehicle was towed. A law enforcement officer warned, “Be careful. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not true…People meet on MySpace and think ‘I’m gonna get the hook up’ and they sure do, but not the hook up they were expecting.” The safest route is to meet potential dates or friends from the internet in a public place to avoid being victimized.