There are countless Internet scams, from standard advertisements to complex e-mails, but Davis police responded to one unusual robbery that resulted from a meeting in the cyber world.
The suspect, Decarlo Joslyn Muhammed, 22, of Sacramento, allegedly was invited into a Davis resident’s apartment after the two met on a dating website for gay men. After entering the Davis resident’s home, Muhammed stole the victim’s cell phone, according to police reports. When the victim confronted him, Muhammed assaulted him with pepper spray.
The victim was able to chase Muhammed to a nearby parking lot and restrain him. The victim was then pepper sprayed again in the eyes while the suspect escaped into a waiting vehicle and fled the scene.
Police received a call from the 100 block of Russell Boulevard on Dec. 3. Davis police took Muhammed into custody on Dec. 10.
Lt. Thomas Waltz of the Davis Police Department Investigations Division stressed the unusual circumstances of the crime.
“We get our share of robberies,” Waltz said. “But this is unique in the way the victim was targeted.”
Through their investigation, the police found there may be additional victims of similar theft or assault of the same suspect. The police believe these victims may be hesitant to report the incidents.
Those officers assigned to the case believe the victim was targeted because Muhammed assumed he would not report the crime due to the facts surrounding their meeting on a website for gay men.
They also believe Muhammed, claiming to be a massage therapist, actively surfed Craigslist and other websites catering to gay men, posting graphic, sexually explicit ads. Detectives believe the suspect would arrange meetings with men he met through the sites in order to enter their homes and steal personal property.
After the investigation, detectives discovered Muhammed is also suspected in another similar scam, which occurred in San Francisco with a different victim.
Officer Samson Chan of the San Francisco Police Department said Muhammed has been arrested before in San Francisco, but has never been convicted of anything there. Muhammed also may have had other cases in Sacramento.
According to Jonathan Raven, assistant chief deputy Yolo County district attorney, there was a preliminary hearing on Jan. 4. The defendant was held to answer charges of first-degree burglary with enhancement for having a person home at the time, attempted robbery and illegal use of pepper spray.
From January to September 2009 there were 43 robberies in Davis, according to the Davis Police Department’s crime reporting statistics. 410 burglaries occurred during this same time period.
The police ask any other individuals who may have been in contact with Muhammed on the sites, or victimized by him, to come forward. Police are requesting that those with more information on the case please call (530) 747-5430.
ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.