Man robbed in hotel parking lot after meeting woman on dating website

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by Chris Patterson

MOUNT PLEASANT -- Ashley Ferguson, Delante Higgenbottom, and Tramell Grier are charged with armed robbery as party to a crime after a man who planned to meet Ferguson met two robbers instead. The victim, 58-year-old Michael Mielczarek, met 22-year-old Ferguson on the online dating website PlentyofFish.com.

According to the criminal complaint, Mielczarek traded messages with Ferguson who was using the fake name "Autumn". Ferguson eventually asked the victim to lend her $350.00 for rent money.

During a November 9th meeting at the Brat Stop in Kenosha, Mielczarek gave Ferguson the rent money. The two set up a meeting for the next day at America's Best Value Inn and Suites in Mount Pleasant.

Mielczarek arrived at the hotel, and looked for Ferguson in the lobby. He received a text message from her phone telling him to wait for her in the parking lot. After a short wait he got another message telling him to meet her inside the hotel.

When Mielczarek exited his truck, he was met by Higgenbottom and Grier. The armed robbers stole Mielczarek's truck keys, cell phone and $150.00.

Immediately following the armed robbery Mielczarek checked the online profile for "Autumn". The profile had been deleted.

Mount Pleasant police stopped Furgeson and Higgenbottom using the description of the car given by Mielczarek.

Furgeson told police Higgenbottom set up online profiles on the dating website. She alleges she never got any of the money Higgenbottom stole from the victims. She told police Higgenbottom would use that money to buy things she needed around the house.

If convicted, Furgeson, Higgenbottom and Grier face up to 40 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.

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