You’ve heard of online dates going badly, but this scheme entrapped two separate victims who were shot, robbed, and left abandoned in rural Solano County.
A couple of 18-year-old men in northern Solano County may be a little apprehensive to get back into the online dating game, as we have news today of scam "dates" that left both shot and robbed — and in one case, also relieved of two ounces of his marijuana. The Sacramento Bee reports that three Woodland teens have been arrested for luring two male victims to setup dates, shooting and robbing them, and leaving both abandoned and bleeding on Putah Creek Road in unincorporated Solano County.
The Solano County Sheriff’s Office details the scheme pretty thoroughly in the above Facebook post; two separate incidents happened in April and June, with the suspects using the same M.O. According to the sheriff’s department, 18-year-old Amit Chhoker connected with the victims using an online dating service, picked them up in a green Land Rover, and drove them out to a remote road.
“Then they’d get intimate,” Solano County Undersheriff Brad Dewall told KPIX.
Except things would take an ugly turn. Suspected accomplices Branden Lerma, 19, and a 17-year-old suspect whose name has not been released, allegedly ambushed the car from nearby bushes and pulled each victim from the vehicle. The suspects allegedly told the victims to curl up in a ball on the ground, at which point they were promptly shot, and in both cases the victim was robbed of his phone, cash, and shoes.
“He walked about a mile for help,” Dewall says of one of the victims to the Woodland Daily Democrat.
Stealing the victims’ phones may not have been the best move, though, as law enforcement was able to ping one of the phones and track down its location. The three have been arrested and charged with armed robbery and attempted murder. Each of the three is claiming that another one pulled the trigger, though Solano County sheriffs say “Lerma is believed to be the shooter in at least one of the incidents.”