Personal Ad Leads To Man With Gun

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A man from Beverly who thought he was meeting a Nelsonville woman he encountered on Craigslist instead found himself at the door of a man holding what appeared to be an assault rifle, according to court papers.

The victim fled to a nearby house and Nelsonville police were summoned to the scene, according to a search warrant affidavit filed Friday in Athens County Common Pleas Court. The affidavit lists two people as suspects, but neither has been charged.

Nelsonville Police Chief Jason Wallace said the case has been under investigation and a prosecutor will be consulted on what action should be taken.

The victim told police he saw a personal ad on Craigslist in the w4m (women for men) section of the Craigslist area called “casual encounters.” That area has ads purportedly from people wanting casual sex.

According to the affidavit, the victim said he called the listed phone number on July 31 and texted with someone he thought was a woman. Pictures were exchanged, and the person texted the address of an apartment in Nelsonville. They continued to text back and forth, and then on Aug. 2 the victim called and spoke with someone who sounded like a woman and gave him the name “Maya.” The person also gave him directions to the Route 691 apartment.

The victim told police he was standing in front of the apartment when the door flew open and he saw a man on the stairs holding an assault rifle. The victim also detected movement behind the door and someone ordered him to get down on the floor. Instead, he ran to a house for help.

Police located the two suspects at the nearby “Hocking Inn,” according to the affidavit, and they were taken to the police department but later released. One of the suspects acknowledged that the phone number was his, and police seized his cell phone. A search warrant was obtained for the data on the phone.

The suspects gave consent for police to search the Route 691 apartment, according to the affidavit. Officers seized an airsoft rifle, paintball gun with tank and plastic case, purple bandana and the cell phone, the affidavit states.

Wallace said he did not know if the airsoft rifle is what the victim described as an assault rifle. Airsoft guns are replica guns designed to fire plastic pellets.

The victim told police he thought his life was in serious danger.

Wallace said that what occurred was not a joke, and he believes a crime was committed. Although the affidavit lists the potential crime as attempted robbery, Wallace indicated that what charge best fits the facts has not been determined.

He also said Monday that the whereabouts of the two suspects is unknown.