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Man accused of using dating service to commit robbery

Two victims say they made a date through a service and were later robbed at knifepoint.

By JONATHAN ABEL, Times Staff Writer
Published November 30, 2007


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A Pinellas Park man has been charged with robbing two mid Pinellas men who authorities say he met through a telephone dating service.

Mark Joseph Scott, 44, of 6543 68th Ave., was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on two counts of armed robbery and one count of battery on a law enforcement officer.

On Sunday, the Sheriff's Office responded to a home on Indian Rocks Road where a 50-year-old man told deputies he met another man through a dating service and arranged a meeting Saturday night at his home.

Once there, the visitor pulled a knife, tied up the resident and stole cash, credit cards and other items.

On Monday, Largo police responded to a similar incident at a home off Rosemary Lane. The second victim also described meeting a man through a dating service and being robbed at knifepoint.

But when the robber tried to tie him up, the victim struggled. The man was cut on the hand, and the robber shoved him into a bathroom before going on to loot his home, police said.

Authorities said the robberies underscore the need to be careful about inviting people into your home.

"Obviously when you're meeting anonymous people through any kind of dating service you should use caution and be aware that there are people there that will victimize you," Largo police Lt. Mike Loux said.

Sheriff's and police investigators began comparing notes Tuesday and had developed Scott as a suspect by Wednesday. They said they found him hiding at an apartment on 41st Street in St. Petersburg about 8 p.m. Wednesday. He struggled while being arrested, and several of the things stolen were recovered, officials said.

Scott was being held at the Pinellas County Jail Thursday in lieu of $210,000 bail.

[Last modified November 29, 2007, 22:33:58]


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