Saturday, Collier County Sheriff’s Office arrested couple Sydney Eberhard, 20, and Eleuterio Regaldo, 22, after they admitted to the armed robbery of a man in his home.
According to the CCSO report, a Collier County deputy responded to an armed robbery at a man’s home Feb. 17. It turns out the man was held at gunpoint in what was learned to be an online date gone wrong.
“I’ve had some bad dating stories, but that one would definitely take the cake,” neighbor Justin Gagnon said.
The man told investigators he met a woman online, later identified as Eberhard, and invited her to his home. Eberhard went to the man’s home and was given a tour of his place, at one point chatting together and drinking wine.
The man said he brought Eberhard to his bedroom during the tour of his home. There, he says she asked him to use a cell phone charger. At that time, another man entered the home, later identified as Eberhard’s boyfriend, Regaldo, who pulled a black semi-automatic handgun on the homeowner and demanded his money.
The man gave Regaldo $30 from his wallet and explained he had nothing else of value to give him. Eberhard and Regaldo left the man’s home together and stole an iPhone and an iPad from the home as they were leaving, which was valued at a total of $2,000.
“That’s really crazy,” neighbor Kyle Weisman said. “We’ve never really had any problems with them or anything like that. So, yeah, that’s really shocking to hear.”
Neighbors we spoke to said a report such as this gives them reason to be concerned about using dating apps.
“I’ve always been sketched about it,” Weisman said. “It’s just always better to meet someone in person and get their first impressions and stuff. But it’s really unfortunate to hear.”
“You really gotta be careful,” Gagnon said. “There’s not really a safe way to do it in my opinion.”
Rich Kolko, WINK News Safety & Security Specialist, said there are some precautions you can take when meeting up with a date you meet behind a screen that lower the risk.
“Know who you’re meeting, meet in public, tell somebody else that you’re having this meeting, and make sure that the person that you’re meeting understands that you’ve done all that,” Kolko said. “That will offer some protection as well.”
Investigators confirmed further information about the two suspects with the homeowner and were able to locate the man’s iPad with its internal GPS. CCSO detectives determined the iPad was inside a Hyundai 4-door sedan registered to Eberhard, sitting inside a McDonald’s parking lot in Estero at the time.
Saturday, investigators spotted the vehicle with the confirmed coinciding license plate tag along Goodlette Road N in Naples. Eberhard was seen driving, and investigators noted she did not have a valid driver’s license, and her vehicle was uninsured.
Officers conducted a traffic stop and approached Eberhard at the driver’s side and identified Regaldo in the passenger’s seat, who also happened to be wearing a ski mask pulled up to his forehead.
Both suspects were taken to Naples Police Department for further questioning, where they both admitted to the armed robbery of the man in his home at gunpoint, verifying his story.
Eberhard faces charges for armed robbery with a firearm or deadly weapon, grand theft, license: knowingly operating a vehicle with a driver’s license suspended, canceled or revoked and failure to have motor vehicle liability insurance.
Regaldo faces charges for armed robbery with a firearm or deadly weapon and grand theft.
Both suspects are in custody at Collier County jail. No bond information is specified on either suspects’ arrest page currently.