DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit Police have a man in custody, believed to be responsible for a crime spree involving the sexual assault and robbery of three men who he met on a dating website.
Elazar Withers, 28, is facing charges after investigators say he carjacked his first victim, then met-up with two other victims in the hours following, allegedly robbing and sexually assaulting both men.
Sgt. Marvin Jones says Withers connected with his victims through a dating website for those in the gay and lesbian community called Jack’d.
“It looks like this guy went on this website and was reviewing the website to see who is out there, who wants to go on dates,” Jones told WWJ’s Stephanie Davis. “And then he set them up to rob them and sexually assault them.”
Police say the crime spree started around 1:45 a.m. last Friday after Withers arranged a meeting with his first victim.
“He was utilizing communications to solicit males on the website,” said Jones. “He went on there, they answered the ad and they would meet up.”
The men apparently made plans to meet near Schoenherr and 8 Mile Road on the east side but when the 37-year-old victim arrived, Withers allegedly held him at gunpoint and demanded that he get out of the car and hand over the keys. The victim complied and ran from the scene on foot as Withers drove away. The man sought help nearby and reported the incident to police. The vehicle was later recovered in the area of McNichols and Schoenherr.
About two hours later, Withers apparently met up with a 30-year-old man near the Dunkin Donuts on 8 Mile and Gratiot Avenue and forced him into his vehicle — a dark gray Nissan Altima. He then drove to a neighborhood along Schoenherr and East State Fair where the victim was allegedly robbed and sexually assaulted. After being forced out of the vehicle, the victim went back to 8 Mile Road where he flagged down police and reported the incident.
Nearly four hours later, Withers connected with a 24-year-old man near Alter Road and Mack Avenue. The man got into the vehicle and Withers then drove to the area of Hayes and Glenwood streets, where the victim was allegedly robbed and sexually assaulted. The victim was forced out of the vehicle after the attack, and later reported the incident to police.
Withers was located Monday afternoon during a traffic stop in the area Gratiot Avenue and 7 Mile Road, and was arrested without incident on an outstanding traffic warrant. Multiple charges including criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and felony firearm are pending.
Investigators believe Withers might have victimized additional men. Anyone with information is urged to contact police at 313-596-1950 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.