Clarksville police warn of online dating attacks, robberies

(Courtesy: WISH)

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Several men were attacked after setting up online dates in Clarksville. Police say three men within a week became victims.

Now they are investigating the robberies, kidnapping and aggravated assaults associated with these cases that all started on social media or on an online dating site.

“There’s not a thing wrong with online dating, it happens all the place, people are very busy, but you have to use good common sense,” Jim Knoll with the Clarksville Police Department told News 2.

He says one of the men, a 20-year-old from Clarksville, has a black eye and dislocated arm after being robbed and assaulted when he went to meet a woman on Powers Street.

The second victim, a 26-year-old Nashville man, was robbed at gunpoint, forced into a vehicle, and then dropped off near where they met off of Union Hall Road.

The third victim in pursuit of love was a 20-year-old Kentucky man who had been communicating online for a couple of weeks with a woman before they set up a meeting place. The red flag was when the meeting place, also off Union Hall Road, was changed by the woman because it was too hot with police presence.

“If you are going to meet somebody in the parking lot and they say, ‘Oh there’s too much police presence,’ I’d have to question why,” said Knoll.

After setting up a different location, the Kentucky man arrived, a man approached his car, displayed a firearm and opened the driver door.  The victim drove off at which time he says he heard the gunfire.

While Knoll believes two of the cases could be related, all three incidents began on different websites.

“One of them was Tinder, one of them was Skout, and the other was Meet Me. The site is not the issue. You know there is not vetting done on any of these sites,” he told News 2.

Knoll says keep in mind you are trusting whoever is on the other end of the computer when you commit to meeting them.

“What you need to do is meet in a public place. You know get all the information, let a friend know where you are going, you know don’t meet in a parking lot after midnight because that’s probably not a good idea,” he explained.

Police believe there are at least six suspects in these three cases. He encourages anyone else who may be a victim to come forward and file a report, as any additional information could help them in tracking down these suspects.