Online date ends in pistol-whipping, robbery

By: Conroy Delouche Email
By: Conroy Delouche Email

ATHENS, Tenn. (WVLT) - A blind date ends in blood, robbery and a getaway.

One recent crime reminds us of the dangers of online dating, this time in McMinn County.

Using the internet to committ a crime is nothing new.

But using a dating site in a small town like Athens to rip someone off, is definitely unfamiliar territory for police.

The love story started on a dating site called plentyoffish.com.

Paul Randal and a girl named Jesse Wedell decided to meet in a public place. They then went over to Randal's house, where the date took an unexpected turn.

If there was a connection, it quickly soured.

McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy says two men, Roderick Davis and David Rodriguez Cruz, were apparently working with the woman.

He says they broke into the house, pistol-whipped Randal and his roommate, and took off with cash, knives, and a fake rolex.

"He said later he had seen them at the Kelly Mart, but didn't associate them with the female. More than likely, they got in the female's car as she was leaving, following the victim," said Sheriff Guy.

He says Cruz, Davis, and Wedell worked the scam together, but didn't get away with it for long.

They were arrested the next day.

"It just goes to show you these sites can't always be trusted, and the people that are on these sites are not always to be trusted, sometimes they have ulterior motives," said Sheriff Guy.

In this particular case, love was not a motive for Wedell.

All three are charged with aggravated robbery, and are being held in the McMinn County Jail.


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