Police in Auburndale, a central Florida city located between Orlando and Tampa, say 18-year-old Hailey Bustos was paid set up a 27-year-old resident she had met on internet dating site PlentyOfFish.
Bustos and Adam Hilarie had been on one date when he invited her to his home the next night, not knowing she had brought along three accomplices who overpowered him, stole electronic equipment and shot him to death in his own kitchen, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
Bustos and the three other suspects, Andrew Maurice Warner, 26, Gary Terrell Gray, 31, and Joshua Ellington, 26, have been charged with murder, conspiracy and robbery, the newspaper said.
But authorities say Warner pulled the trigger and Bustos was paid $50 for setting Hilarie up.
“You really shouldn’t take someone to the place that you live,” Auburndale Deputy Police Chief Andy Ray said at a news conference at police headquarters.
“You should get to know them better than that so you can judge their character and also know their intentions,” he said.
Vancouver, Canada-based PlentyofFish, which bills itself as the largest online dating site for singles, said in a statement that it was “deeply saddened” by the tragic events and warned people to take precautions to better ensure their safety.
“If you’re headed out on a date, always tell someone where you’re going, and ensure it’s in a public place,” the statement said.
“Do not go to someone’s home, invite them to yours, or meet at [a] hotel,” it said.
But Hilarie followed those cautions, at least initially, when he met Bustos for the first time the night before he was killed.
The two met at a bowling alley in Winter Haven, Fla., and spent hours talking before she went to his place for a while and he took her home., police said.
They agreed by text message to meet the next night, when the attack occurred.