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Police: learn from victim's mistake after online meetup becomes robbery

Police say they hope folks can learn from the victim's mistake after an online meetup turns into a strong-armed robbery in a Kennewick hotel.

KENNEWICK, Wash. — It's an online meetup turned into a disaster.

The Criminal Apprehension Team and Kennewick Police Department both responded to a hotels on the 1100-block of Columbia Center Blvd. around 1:20 a.m. Thursday morning.

A man said he thought he was going to be meeting up with a woman he met online.

Sgt. Randy Maynard of the Kennewick Police Department said that's when the man became the victim of a robbery,

"She was working with, or at least involved with, other individuals that had different plans."

The victim said the woman he had chatted with, plus another man and woman, took his wallet, keys and cell phone.

As police investigated, officers say Alyson R. Hill returned to the hotel and the victim said she was one of the women who robbed him.

Police obtained a warrant and searched her car where they found the victims keys.

Maynard said this kind of thing happens too often nowadays,

"When you take the face to face contact out of that, you have a two-dimensional conversation that happens in print basically."

Maynard said chatting online removes your ability to know if the person you're talking to is actually who they say they are,

"Where I can perceive, 'yeah, something in my gut tells me you're not being quite honest.'"

He said people usually want to trust each other,

"So when you say, 'Meet me at this place to do whatever', 'Okay, I'm going to trust you and I'm going to meet you there'. In doing so you could potentially open yourself to become a victim of a crime."

Sgt. Maynard said if you have to meet someone from the internet for the first time, do it somewhere in public. Somewhere with lots of light, and lots of witnesses,

"This recommendation applies to anyone. Young or old. Man or woman. Take the necessary steps to protect yourself so that you don't become a victim of a crime."

The sergeant said people need to be skeptical and ask more questions to ensure their safety,

"They just need to take that extra step of precaution, so that they don't walk into something that they perceive as one thing, but is actually something else."

Police arrested Hill on suspicion of second degree robbery.

Officers tell Action News the two other people involved in the scheme are still on the loose.

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