Man Says Online Meeting Offered Intimacy, But In-Person Meeting Led To Robbery
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – He’d only been chatting with her online for several hours, before the two agreed to meet.
Soon after he came face-to-face with the woman, however, Drake Knutson found himself being held at knifepoint by three men.
“They had actually held a knife to my kneecap,” Knutson said. “I was kind of just begging them not to put the knife into my knee.”
The 20-year-old spoke for the first time Wednesday about the Nov. 6 robbery that has left him struggling to trust anyone.
“I guess my whole perspective on online-and-who-you-can-really-trust-kind-of-deal — it’s really changed,” Knutson said.
Knutson said he initially started messaging the woman who called herself “Isabella” on the MeetMe app, and the conversation quickly turned to a discussion about an early morning rendezvous.
“She had offered that she was interested in getting intimate, per se,” Knutson said.
When he arrived to the area the woman specified, an apartment complex at 4000 S. Redwood Rd., the woman had a friend with her.
“I was kind of thrown off by the entire thing,” Knutson said.
Knutson said something didn’t seem right as the women led him to an apartment.
“It was actually vacant and there was no furniture or anything like that,” Knutson said. “In fact, there was an eviction notice on the front, and she was telling me they were currently moving out or something like that, and that’s when I kind of knew something was off.”
Within five or 10 minutes, Knutson said three men entered and held a knife to him.
“They just said that I somehow was at fault here, that I had deserved this, because I was trying to sleep around with a woman that I didn’t know had a boyfriend,” Knutson said.
Knutson said the entire group left with his wallet, phone, keys and his Chevy Impala.
“I don’t know what they did with my car, but they went for a joyride and took most of the gas tank—that’s for sure,” the man said.
Knutson said he believed the whole ordeal was a “setup.”
West Valley City police subsequently arrested Shanece Hayes, 24, whom Knutson identified as “Isabella,” as well as Reyna Pinedo Ortiz, 25, on suspicion of aggravated robbery.
According to a jail booking statement, Hayes denied planning the robbery during an interview with investigators, but admitted to knowing that the car was stolen and even being in the vehicle up to 19 hours after the car had been taken.
Officers were still looking for the three men, according to Knutson.
Knutson said one of the men was bald with tattoos on his head.
Though Knutson was ultimately reunited with his car, he said he is still missing several items and a significant amount of money.
“Besides the car, I’m currently in debt because I had to pull out a loan to maintain life,” he said.
The man said he will now struggle to trust anyone he meets.
“Heck, I was giving them free smokes, so you know,” Knutson said.
Knutson said he hoped his story would resonate with others looking to meet people online.
“Definitely don’t meet up with people that you’ve chatted with for less than a day,” Knutson said, “especially, you know, at 4 o’clock in the morning.”
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