Man jailed after stealing from women he met on an online dating site

A 23-year-old man has been jailed for nearly two years after stealing from two women, one of which from Chichester, after meeting them on the dating website ‘Plenty of Fish’.

Police said Connor Richardson, of Foulness Island, Southend, Essex would gain the trust of his victims to the point where he was left alone in their home.

He would use this opportunity to take items including cash, bank cards and electronics.

Richardson reportedly then ignored or blocked all contact from the women when they discovered their belongings were missing.

One victim who met Richardson on the site arranged to see him, he had told her he travelled from London to stay with her in Chichester in September.

He was left at the address after the victim left for work one morning.

She was later contacted by her bank, who were suspicious after a number of purchases were made in Brighton.

When the victim returned home that evening she realised her PlayStation 4, numerous PlayStation games and two pairs of Beats headphones had been taken, totalling around £800.

In August, Richardson reportedly visited another woman he met on the dating website, at her home in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

He had said he had work in the area that had been cancelled.

It was agreed he could stay on the sofa while she went to work.

When the victim returned home later on, she discovered around £70 had been stolen from a money tin belonging to her brother, who lives with her.

A silver Accurist watch, a PlayStation 4 controller and numerous PlayStation games were also missing from her brother’s room.

The victim’s credit card was also stolen and used to make various payments and cash withdrawals.

Richardson was arrested at an address in Kensington Road, Crawley, on October 31, and charged with burglary, two counts of theft and two counts of fraud by false representation.

He fully admitted the offences and told officers he sold some of the electronics in exchange for cash at CEX in Brighton.

He was sentenced to 96 weeks’ imprisonment, his previous record of offending was considered during sentencing.

PC Jordan Holmes said:

“Richardson abused the trust of two women just days after meeting them via an online dating service.

“He made up a number of lies in order to gain access to his victims’ properties while no one else was home, and used this opportunity to steal a number of valuable items.

“The sentence reflects the level of deceit he demonstrated, as well as his offending history.

“This was made possible thanks to a joint operation involving Sussex Police, Hampshire Police and Kent Police.

“While the victims will not have foreseen his criminal activity, we hope this case will raise awareness to others seeking to meet someone online. Be aware and be vigilant, and don’t hesitate to report anything suspicious to us.”

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