Online dating reportedly ends with stolen car in Liberty County

An online romance ended with a broken heart for one Liberty County woman. After befriending a man online, the woman invited the man to her home, only to be robbed of her belongings, authorities say.

“Once again a recent incident shows just how dangerous it can be by meeting total strangers on the Internet and inviting them into your home. What should have been a pleasant experience in meeting someone new resulted in the victim having her new car stolen along with cash, cell phone and wallet containing personal papers,” said Capt. Ken DeFoor, spokesperson for the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.

The victim reportedly told sheriff’s deputies that she had met Matthew Albert Carpenter, 49, through an online dating service and had been dating him for about a month. She had invited Carpenter to her home and when she was not looking, he reportedly stole her new car along with cash and other items and fled.

“In a scene that could have been taken straight out of a movie, the daughter of the victim very shrewdly developed an ingenious plan to trap Carpenter. She devised a fake profile on the same website and had started talking to Carpenter. She told him she wanted to meet him in person at a motel in the city of Dayton at 9 p.m. that evening and Carpenter agree to do so, which as it turned out was his second big mistake,” DeFoor said.

When Carpenter arrived, he reportedly was greeted by Dayton Police Cpl. Brian Chowns, LCSO Cpl. Shelly Edwards and Deputy Charles Daigle. The three peace officers reportedly worked with the victim’s daughter to arrange a greeting party for him when he arrived at the motel.

“..Indeed, he did and directly into the waiting arms of law enforcement in the victim’s stolen car, which was returned to her that evening,” DeFoor said.

The suspect, whose last known address is listed as California, was arrested and booked into the Liberty County Jail on a state jail felony charge of Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle. His bond is set at $10,000.

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