Detroit man accused of assaulting, robbing women he lured via dating apps

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — A 27-year-old Detroit man is accused of using dating apps and the promise of romance to lure women to an eastside apartment complex, only to rob and sexually assault them at gunpoint, police officials said Monday.

Marcus Edwards is charged with second-degree criminal sexual assault, armed robbery and felonious assault in connection with alleged Feb. 7 and Jan. 8 incidents at the Anthos Garden Apartments, a sprawling complex at 5045 E. Outer Drive near 7 Mile.

Marcus Edwards

Edwards has not yet retained an attorney or had one assigned to him, according to online court records.

The police investigation began Feb. 7, when a woman dialed 911 to report she'd been robbed and sexually assaulted by a man she'd met on the Tinder app, Detroit Police Lt. Matthew Fulgenzi said during a live-streamed press conference at the 11th Precinct.

"The male had her meet him in the back corner of the apartment complex, at which point he entered her vehicle, used a firearm and announced a robbery," Fulgenzi said. "The female fled from the area and called 911."

Officers from the 11th Precinct responded, took the woman's statement and forwarded their report to the precinct's detective unit, Fulgenzi said.

Investigators used high-definition video from nearby businesses that are part of the city's Project Green Light program to identify Edwards as the alleged perpetrator, Fulgenzi said.

Edwards was arrested Wednesday near the apartment complex, Fulgenzi said. Police recovered a firearm, along with jewelry and other stolen items, he said.

"Detectives also looked at crime mapping technology and discovered there had been a second robbery at the same complex during the month of January," Fulgenzi said, referring to the alleged Jan. 8 incident.

"Re-investigating that case, we found the same (suspect) description, and he also met the victim off another dating site," Fulgenzi said. "She also was robbed at gunpoint and sexually assaulted."

Fulgenzi said detectives tracked down two other recent cases where women told police they were robbed and assaulted near 7 Mile and Outer Drive by a man they'd met using dating apps. 

"Those cases are under review by detectives," Fulgenzi said. "We're looking at this pattern; we saw the growth of one case to potentially four cases."

Fulgenzi said the department's Special Victims Unit and 9th Precinct aided in the investigation. He also thanked the victims, "who had the confidence to come forward and help us solve these crimes.

"(Edwards) lured these females in to take them out on a date, and took advantage of them," Fulgenzi said. "They truly are the victims in this."

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Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN