Cyber 'predator' stealing from women
A man who has allegedly ripped off at least three women, including one from Palmerston North, having befriended them through online dating is being hunted by police.
Police are seeking information on the whereabouts of Christchurch man Shane William Grogan, also known as Shane Calder, who is alleged to have befriended women on internet dating sites before travelling to meet them.
The 46-year-old first travelled to Rotorua in October 2013 to stay with a woman, aged in her 50s, who he met online.
He left suddenly, allegedly taking belongings from the victim, including a bankcard that he used to withdraw money and a car.
In November 2013, Grogan travelled to Palmerston North to meet another woman he had befriended online, this one aged in her 30s.
He stayed at the woman's home for a week and proposed to her before again leaving suddenly, allegedly taking cash and belongings.
In the most recently incident, Grogan travelled to Waimate at the start of the year to meet another woman, aged in her 50s, that he met through a dating website.
He stayed with the woman for six days before leaving, allegedly stealing valuable heirloom jewellery and a computer.
Police inquiries found Grogan had returned to Christchurch and pawned some of the stolen items.
Acting Sergeant Chris Macpherson said Grogan's alleged offending was particularly deceptive and predatory.
"The offender has taken advantage of his victims after posing as a friend and gaining their trust along with access to their homes and belongings."
The case also served as a warning on the dangers of befriending strangers through internet sites, Macpherson said.
"Not everyone on internet dating sites is a criminal - but there certainly are some people who use these services to deceive and prey on victims."
It was possible Grogan had other victims and police urged them to come forward, Macpherson said.
Grogan is described as European, about 188cm (6 feet, 2 inches) tall and of thin build.
Anyone who knew where Grogan was or had information on his whereabouts or recent movements were also urged to contact police by calling 03 363 7400.
Information could be provided anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.