Two Michigan men are behind bars in connection with a robbery cops say started off as a Craigslist meet.
The ubiquitous Internet age pastime – meeting a stranger or strangers online for whatever – is standard fare in 2015. Still, there is inherent risk.
"It's a disturbing trend that's become more popular among predators in recent years," explained NewNowNext's Matthew Tharrett. "People who become victims of crimes under the pretense of hooking up are particularly vulnerable because they're more willing to welcome strangers into their home (or visit the home of a stranger) and possibly not report the crime out of fear of judgment."
Cops in Michigan told Lansing's WLNS that Adrian Tupper and Aaron Spyker allegedly met a man on the free classifieds site, drove to his house and then forcibly restrained and robbed him.
PrideSource, an LGBT publication in Michigan, called the men "serial Craigslist predators" and reported that "law enforcement sources said there are more cases they are aware of than the one which has been charged." In other words, it's possible that this isn't the only incident.
Prosecutor Stuart Dunning told WLNS that online predators leverage shame and stigma to facilitate their crimes.
"They feel that those people aren't going to report to the police," Dunning said. Victims "worry about the stigma or whatever, but if anyone is out there that's been victimized, I don't really care anything about that stuff, you're a victim...and we will do what we can to vindicate your rights."
This isn't the first time Michigan has seen allegations of crime involving Craigslist.
In October, MLive reported that a Craigslist car deal ended in gunfire.