MERRILLVILLE | A man who thought he was meeting an acquaintance from an online dating site was instead allegedly being set up to be kidnapped and robbed.
The victim, identified as “K.B.” in a federal indictment, began an online relationship on March 17 with Diamond Toney, 19, of Merrillville, who went by the screen name “Spooky300” on the dating website “POF” (www.pof.com). After three days of correspondence, they decided to meet at the intersection of 73rd Avenue and Whitcomb Street in Merrillville.
Toney reportedly told “K.B.” that she did not have a car, so he should drive from his home in Sauk Village and pick her up on March 21. Upon arrival at about 10 p.m., K.B. observed Toney walking in the road, recognizing her from her “Spooky300” profile photo.
As K.B. pulled over to let Toney inside the vehicle, a man later identified as Dedrick Bufkin, 20, of Merrillville, appeared on the driver’s side armed with a handgun. Bufkin allegedly pointed the gun at the man’s head and ordered him out of the vehicle and onto the ground, the federal indictment stated.
Bufkin then allegedly tied up K.B. with rope and duct tape and placed him in the trunk of the vehicle. Bufkin and Toney then allegedly took $100 from the victim, as well as a cellphone and wallet.
For the next four to five hours, Bufkin and Toney drove around in the man’s car, making stops at several local stores while they plotted other robberies, the indictment stated. Eventually, they let the man go, and he immediately notified Merrillville police about what had happened.
Police went to Toney’s home where they found her with Bufkin. They both made spontaneous statements implicating themselves in the incident with K.B., the indictment stated.
During an interview at the Merrillville Police Department, Toney and Bufkin waived their Miranda rights and confessed to robbing and tying up the Sauk Village man. Toney and Bufkin were both charged with kidnapping and using a firearm during a crime of violence in U.S. District Court in Hammond on Thursday.