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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Internet Dates Robbed and Photographed Naked

www.petrovka38.ruThe unidentified suspect
A Moscow man has been arrested on suspicion of arranging meetings with women through Internet dating sites, robbing them and forcing them to pose for nude photographs, police said Wednesday.

Police arrested the 30-year-old suspect on Saturday on Ulitsa Kakhovka in southern Moscow after two women reported that they had been robbed on the first date by a man they met over the Internet, police spokeswoman Marina Molokova said.

Molokova said the latest incident happened on June 30, when a 20-year-old woman agreed to a meeting on Ulitsa Akademika Artsimovicha in southwest Moscow with a stranger she had met online.

The two met at the arranged time, and the man invited the young woman to his apartment, Molokova said.

"When they got into the elevator, he hit the stop button and pulled out a knife," Molokova said. "He took all of the valuables she had on her: money, credit cards, a cell phone. Then he took out a camera and ordered her to undress. He took several pictures and then fled the scene."

It was the second incident reported to police in June, Molokova said. Another woman said she was victimized in a similar setup in southwest Moscow on June 6.

After the June 30 complaint, police formulated a plan to nab the online dater, Molokova said. She declined to elaborate on how the suspect was caught.

The suspect's name is not being released due to an ongoing investigation, Molokova said. Police have released his photograph in an effort to find other victims.

"We think that there are several victims, but that some women, for whatever reason, didn't want to go to the police," Molokova said.

She said a search of the suspect's apartment yielded nude photographs of more than 10 women that all appeared to have been taken in an elevator.

The suspect has been charged with robbery, which is punishable by up to eight years in prison.

Sergei Pomukhin, who runs the Internet dating site Eye2Eye.ru, estimated that there were least 2 million personal ads on various Russian dating sites and that the number of ads on his site was increasing by 15 percent to 20 percent per year.

He said Eye2Eye.ru does not post suspicious ads, such as those that ask prospective dates for money up front for their cell phones or airline tickets.

As far as the potential dangers involved in meeting an Internet acquaintance in person, Pomukhin had only two words of advice: "Be careful."

Police spokesman Kirill Sharov said it was difficult to ascertain how many similar crimes were carried out via the Internet.

"It's impossible to say because we don't keep any statistics," Sharov said. "Of course the Internet presents certain dangers, but any form of interaction offers a degree of danger."

The popular dating site Omen.ru provides a forum for users to tell horror stories about Internet romances.

In the forum, one man who identified himself as a lawyer who lives on the Arbat, wrote that he met a Tashkent native -- "a certain Tatyana" -- via the Internet and married her a month later.

He wrote that after he spent $5,000 on her, he discovered she was already married to a man in the Moscow region town of Dmitrov, and she left. Shortly thereafter, he received regular visits by men who claimed Tatyana owed them $100,000, he wrote.

"That's the Internet for you!" he wrote, signing his name as "Alexei with a sad experience ...((((."