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Online lover-turned-thief nabbed in Orem

Published: Thursday, Sept. 24 2009 7:33 p.m. MDT

OREM — An Orem woman may have narrowly escaped being the latest alleged victim of a man accused of being a thieving Don Juan.

The woman, 34, was out for a drive just after midnight Thursday with a man she had met through an online dating site when police stopped them and questioned him at a gas station near I-15 and 800 North in Orem.

The problem? An officer doing a routine license-plate check had found that the 1996 Honda Accord driven by the 33-year-old man had been reported stolen in Idaho on Tuesday.

The man had flown there last week to meet a 53-year-old woman he had also romanced online at Black Planet, an African-American dating site, Orem Police Sgt. Craig Martinez said.

Police believe the man then stole her car, took her plasma TV, DVD player, laptop and camera, and headed down to meet the Orem woman.

"He has ties to Florida, Kansas and Oklahoma," Martinez said. "We don't know how long he's been up to this stuff or how many potential victims we have."

Police found the TV and DVD player in the car, while the laptop and camera were recovered from a hotel room in Woods Cross. Martinez said he expects the man to be extradited to Idaho to face theft charges.

— Paul Koepp

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