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Police say they have arrested a Merrillville man accused of rape and suspected in numerous "sweetheart" scams where he meets women and allegedly scams them out of their money. 

Lenard A. Adams, 32, allegedly uses the alias "Sean Christopher West" or "Chris West" when meeting women, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Friday in Lake Criminal Court. 

He faces charges of felony rape, criminal confinement and intimidation, according to court records. Police said they believe Adams has victimized women "from various states."

Adams is accused of victimizing a woman in Merrillville during the past year by threatening her life, forcing her to obtain out-of-state loans, open bank accounts with fraudulent money and raping her, the affidavit states. 

Police interviewed the victim Tuesday. She said she received a text message from Adams on Oct. 23 asking her if she had opened a bank account and she said she was denied, court records show. 

She further told police Adams has, in the past, driven her to banks to deposit fraudulent money, according to court records. She told police Adams forced her to have unwanted sex "at least 10 times."

Later on Oct. 23, Adams texted her to drive to Motel 6 in Merrillville and bring him money, according to the affidavit. 

In a subsequent text message, Adams wrote "I will break your face if you're not here in 20 minutes."

Adams allegedly raped her at the motel, court records show, and an argument broke out when she tried to leave, according to court records.

When they exited the room together, they saw Merrillville police officers who had been called to the motel for a report of a disturbance in their room. 

Adams allegedly told her "If you say anything, I'm going to kill you," court records show. 

The two met Tuesday at a Starbucks in Hobart when Adams allegedly hit her when she refused to leave town with him, court records show. She was able to lock him out of a vehicle to call Hobart police. They said she needed to file a report with the Merrillville Police Department. 

Merrillville police searched its records system and found "numerous complaints and victims ... regarding fraud and theft reports made by various victimized women and the suspect was Lenard A. Adams who claimed to be Sean Christopher West."

"I also found reports from other agencies as Lenard A. Adams being the suspect in various sweetheart scams where he meets women and scams them out of their money," Merrillville Detective James Bogner wrote in the affidavit. 

Adams allegedly admitted to police he used the alias Sean Christopher West in his relationship with the victim. 


Public safety reporter

Lauren covers breaking news, crime and courts for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet covering government, public policy, and the region’s heroin epidemic. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.