Woman attacked after online dating encounter in St. Louis County

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FENTON, MO (KTVI) - For one woman, looking for love online led her to danger.

According to St. Louis County Police, 50 year-old William Burns, Jr. met a woman through an online dating website.  The two decided to meet in person at Azteca Mexican Restaurant in Fenton.

Restaurant employees tell FOX 2 they didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary when the two were having dinner. But when they walked out to the parking lot, St. Louis County Police Officer Shawn McGuire says the suspect started acting in a way that quickly made the woman nervous: “The suspect went to his car first.  She walked over there with him. He opened the back of his truck, and showed a bunch of guns in the car.”

She stated that she felt uncomfortable, and was heading home. But when she tried to walk toward her car, McGuire says Burns grabbed her and tried to remove her clothes outside the truck.  She escaped.

“Then she finally got in her own car, at that point, the suspect exposed himself to her, and she drove off,” adds McGuire.  The victim immediately called police.

Public records show Burns pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a weapon in 1997. As a convicted felon, it’s illegal for him to possess one firearm, let alone five.  Now, Burns is charged with five counts of unlawful firearm possession, sexual misconduct and assault.

He was arrested about a week later, a wanted man, with three more guns. With that, three more charges.  Court documents show the convicted felon possessed nine guns in total.

According to the dating website he used, “criminals or other ‘shady’ characters using the service” violates the terms of use.

But the website also states, “The company currently does not conduct criminal background checks.”  That’s why police say it’s important to investigative someone before meeting them in person, and recommend meeting in a crowded place.

McGuire explains, “The biggest thing that we get across is, if they’re not happy with how they’re being treated or something happens, you need to leave the area as quickly as possible and contact the police department, which she did.”

FOX 2 has reached out to the online dating website, but has not yet received a response.

You can follow Rebecca Roberts on Twitter and Facebook:
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Email: rebecca.roberts@tvstl.com

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