Man arrested in Alabama accused of using app to arrange rape

National News

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A man in Alabama was accused of trying to hire someone on a phone app to kidnap and rape a Wisconsin woman he met online, federal court documents show.

Matthias Jacob Edward Mann, 22, was arrested last week in the north Alabama town of Hartselle on charges of attempted kidnapping and attempted coercion after a person who he believed was willing to assault a woman turned out to be a police officer working undercover online, according to a sworn statement from an FBI agent.

Mann allegedly sent $75 through a payment app to cover expenses for the supposed abduction, the statement said, and was arrested Wednesday. Mann has addresses in Hartselle but also listed addresses in metro Atlanta, where the would-be victim believed he lived, documents show.

Two public defenders named to represent Mann during the hearing did not return an email seeking comment Monday.

A detective with the Owatonna (Minnesota) Police Department was monitoring a channel on the Kik app on Dec. 29 when he saw a message from a user trying to hire someone to abduct an acquaintance in Wisconsin, the statement said. The person later said he wanted the woman subjected to “the most brutal … rape imaginable,” the statement said.

The detective began communicating with the person, determined that the request was real, and began trying to locate the user while also locating and contacting the would-be victim in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, to make sure she was safe, the statement said.

The Kik account was tracked to Mann through computer records, the statement said, and phone location records were used to pinpoint the residence where Mann was arrested, apparently while visiting relatives. The FBI office in Huntsville was brought in when evidence indicated the suspect was in Alabama.

The woman, who was not identified in court records, told police she had met Mann online and chatted with him on Twitter but they had not met in person, the agent’s statement said.

Mann, who was jailed in Morgan County, made an initial appearance before a federal magistrate by video on Thursday.

No one from Kik immediately responded to an email requesting comment Monday.

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