By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A Gillette man was scammed out of thousands of dollars by a person he was supposedly dating online for a year, according to police.
Gillette Deputy Police Chief Brent Wasson said an unidentified 54-year-old man reported sending a woman he had had never met face-to-face $15,000 over the course of the year.
Wesson told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday that the scam was discovered when the man went to the police department Tuesday to report that his girlfriend had been kidnapped.
“He had been talking with the woman for the previous year via text messages and video,” Wasson said. “She was supposed to be coming to Gillette [to meet the man] and sent a picture about 30 minutes before she was to arrive, saying she had been kidnapped.”
The picture showed a woman’s chest and chin covered in blood and appeared to have been taken in a well-furnished home. The woman’s face was not shown in the photo, but Wasson it appeared the woman was covered in fake blood used in theater productions.
“It was kind of peeling off,” he said.
The man told police he had paid the woman $10,000 in Google gift cards and $5,000 in Bitcoin throughout their relationship.
“A cursory investigation determined that the phone number [the woman was using] is fictitious,” Wasson said.
No suspect has been identified as of Thursday afternoon, Wasson said.
He added that people should avoid sending money through gift cards or other transactions unless they know the recipient personally.