By Kelli Stopczynski (email@example.com)
5:25 PM EST, February 20, 2013
A Marshall County native is accused of romancing women all over the country then stealing from them. Monday, 29-year-old Raymond Holycross wound up in the St. Joseph County Jail.
Holycross also goes by several aliases, including Ray Paris and Ray Cross. A quick internet search of his name shows he’s accused of duping dozens of women from as far away as Salt Lake City, Utah and Portland, Oregon.
But a Mishawaka woman, who says he did the same thing to her, ultimately helped him get caught.
“These are all the different texts and conversations from different women,” said Theresa Bridegroom as she scrolled through a black iPhone Wednesday afternoon. “He had been texting over 25, 30 women, meeting up with 7 or 8 women a day when he said he was at work.”
That phone is essentially an alleged con artist’s little black book. It’s one of the few personal items Holycross left behind when police arrested him at Bridegroom’s Mishawaka apartment off Main Street early Monday morning. And it gave her a good look into who he really is.
“He’s a sweet talker, he's a charming person and he'll say anything to get into your life and get you to trust him,” she said.
Bridegroom said she met Holycross through a mutual friend last September and trusted him right away. He told her his name was Ray Paris, he was a writer for a national news organization and he was only looking for a place to stay.
“He would say ‘Oh, I need a ride to the airport, I gotta fly out for my job to Chicago, I gotta fly out to New York to cover this story. I'm not sure when I'll be back,’” she recalled.
Eventually, their friendship evolved into romance.
But a few weeks ago, Bridegroom found a receipt from a local pawn shop inside a backpack she allowed Holycross to use. That’s when she said she realized he’d apparently stolen and pawned her camera and when red flags started to go up. She filed a police report and tried asking Holycross about it.
Theresa and a friend researched Ray Paris online and realized his real name was Raymond Holycross. They found he had duped dozens of other women from all over into similar relationships.
“Part of me was terrified,” she said.
Bridegroom said she later found a loaded gun in the backpack. Scared and confused, she called police.
Shortly after he returned from a trip Monday, police knocked on the apartment door. He answered it and they arrested him on suspicion of possessing stolen property for having the gun. He was wanted on a theft warrant out of Kokomo for that same gun that had been reported stolen.
After they arrested him and the officer convinced Holycross to give up the password to the cell phone Bridegroom bought him, she contacted every woman in his cell phone and on the online dating site he was using to let them know what had happened.
Now, she’s trying to deal with the shock of what happened and move on with her own life.
“It's just hard to believe,” she said. “It's just like a Dateline story or something. And to think it was right here in this area and it was happening to me was devastating. It was like - how do I tell my son? It's embarrassing for me.”
Bridegroom, who is currently unemployed, said she also bought him some clothes and allowed him to use her cell phone plan, even though his name wasn’t on the bills. Plus, she said he upgraded some of her utilities, which ultimately caused her to fall $3,000 - $4,000 behind in payments.
Holycross was still in the St. Joseph County Jail Wednesday night with a set court arraignment for 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
The prosecutor’s office was looking over police reports and investigating whether Holycross would be formally charged, said spokeswoman Lora Bentley. A charging decision had not been reached Wednesday.
Holycross is also wanted on a warrant out of Howard County, Ind. for allegedly stealing that gun.
Other than what he’s accused of stealing from women all over the country and the gun, it’s unclear whether Holycross broke any laws. He’s accused of meeting women online, convincing them to give him a place to stay, then talking them into buying him things.
Like Bridegroom, a lot of the women are now warning others about him online.
They’ve taken to the internet with all of his known aliases so others don’t fall for the same thing.
Copyright © 2013, WSBT-TV