Internet meet-up ends with man's robbery

COVINGTON — A man reported that he was robbed at gunpoint after he arranged a rendezvous with a woman he met in an Internet chat room, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office.

The victim told the NCSO that he went to the Neely Manor subdivision about 10:30 p.m. May 4 to meet a woman he knew only as Apple.

"He said he had met Apple online and had been speaking with this person online for three days. He made arrangements to meet her at the Neely Manor subdivision clubhouse that Friday night," Public Information Officer Cpl. Anthony Washington said. "Upon arriving, he saw her standing there and not too far from where she was, there were two black males whom she said were related to her."

Washington said Apple got into the victim's car with him and shortly afterward the two men approached the vehicle. One of them pointed a firearm at the victim and they demanded his wallet, phone and money.

"They all left after that, the two males ran in one direction and Apple ran in the other," Washington said. "They left some of the victim's property behind, but were able to take some of it with them."

Washington cautioned residents to be wary of making acquaintances with strangers via the Internet.

"We'll more than likely keep an eye on this to see if it is a developing trend. We'll alert the public if a situation like this continues to occur," he said. "Something like this could easily get out of hand with victims being set up online."

Washington advised the public never to meet someone they don't know in an isolated area, but rather make sure the meeting is in public view.

"I would also have the person provide me with more information than just a nickname or screen name so you can know if they're legitimate. That way, you can check them out," he said. "Those social sites can lead to problems if you don't do your homework."

In other crime news, a man reported to the NCSO Thursday that he was walking from the Shell service station at the intersection of Salem and Kirkland roads when he was stabbed by two unidentified black men.

The victim told NCSO detectives that he had left the station when the two men "jumped him and something sharp hit him in the right leg/hip area," according to NCSO Public Information Officer Courtney Morrison.

Morrison said the actual location of the attack had not been determined, nor were there any suspects at this time.

Also, on June 7, a man notified the NCSO that he had discovered what he believed to be marijuana plants growing about 200 yards behind Mansfield Elementary School.

"The plants were in the early stages of development and had been transplanted into the growing area. The ground had been prepared for planting and there was an empty bag of fertilizer as well as water bottles and potting plants strewn about the area," according to an NCSO incident report.

Morrison said there turned out to be 13 individual marijuana plants, which deputies removed from the ground and destroyed.

"If anybody has any information on this, please contact the Newton County Sheriff's Office," Morrison said. Call 678-625-1400. Tips can also be given to the NCSO anonymously at 678-625-5007 or through its website at www.newtonsheriffga.org and clicking on "anonymous tips." Those who want a response from NCSO personnel should leave contact information.