SOUTH BEND — City police are investigating two reports this month of men who say they were scammed and robbed when they tried to see women they met online on a website that allows users to chat with each other.
In both reports, men from outside the city arranged to meet women in South Bend and instead encountered threats of violence and turned over cash.
The men both reported they met a woman at the website QuestChat.com, a site that allows users to chat online and speak on the phone with other users.
South Bend Police Sgt. Ian McQueen said detectives haven’t connected the cases.
“We haven’t made that connection yet but now that we have an additional report, it’s a natural line of inquiry for us,” McQueen said.
In the more recent case, a 55-year-old man from Michigan City arranged on a website to meet a woman about 8 p.m. Tuesday at a home in the 800 block of South Kenmore Street, McQueen said.
The woman who answered his knock did not match the description the woman online gave, he told police.
The man reported the woman told him to go to the back of the home to find the girl. Instead, he found a man who told him to continue walking to the back of the room.
He grew concerned at this point, McQueen said.
The man said the man in the back of the home picked up a club and demanded money, and the woman who answered the door was holding a knife, McQueen said.
The pair took cash from his wallet and allowed him to leave.
Officers interviewed two women at the home. The investigation is ongoing, McQueen said.
In a case reported earlier this month, a 57-year-old Warsaw man set up a meeting online with a woman at Courtyard Place Apartments, 425 S. 25th Street.
He said he arrived at the building March 3 and found a man waiting for him in a stairwell with a knife, McQueen said. The man reported he held a knife to his throat and demanded money.
“Our advice for people who want to meet someone over a chat line is first meeting in a public place, on neutral ground,” McQueen said.
So far these two reports are the only ones police have received recently, but, McQueen said, this type of crime may go unreported.
“The problem with a crime of this nature is that there’s some embarrassment attached to it,” he said.
Staff writer Madeline Buckley: