CHICAGO (CBS) — Police in Northwest Indiana were urging more victims of the “Sweetheart Swindler” to come forward, after a 32-year-old man was charged with scamming women out of their money, kidnapping them, and intimidating them. In one case, he allegedly raped one of his victims.
Lenard Adams claimed to be a neurosurgeon raising money for charity, and called himself variations of the name Sean Christopher West, according to Hobart Police Lt. James Gonzales.
“He’s been a menace to society, and I believe there’s many more victims out there,” he said.
Police said Adams conned women out of their hard-earned cash, by taking them shopping and convincing them to open store credit. He got one victim to buy him a Rolex and expensive coins.
“He carries himself very well, obviously, to make these women think that he may possibly be a neurosurgeon. I think he played on their emotions also, I mean, by indicating to them that ‘Hey, I’m doing something charitable,’” Gonzales said.
Adams met three of his victims in stores, and ran across another on a highway in Michigan, motioning for her to pull over, according to Gonzales.
“She initially told officers she was embarrassed,” he said.
After scamming his victims, Adams kidnapped and threatened to hurt or kill them, police said. He allegedly raped one of his victims.
In total, Adams conned his victims out of approximately $67,800, according to Gonzales
The charges against Adams include rape, confinement, and intimidation involving a woman in Merrillville; two counts each of kidnapping and intimidation involving two women in Hobart; and three counts of theft in connection with a woman in Highland.
“Pretty heart-wrenching what he’s done to these victims, and I know there’s many more out there. To play on the trust of people and violate them that way says a lot about his character, or the lack thereof,” Gonzales said.
Adams listed several addresses in Northwest Indiana and suburban Illinois and was known to gamble in Michigan, Wisconsin and Las Vegas, so police suspect there are many more victims.
“We want to hear what happened to you, so we could help you get through being victimized. We want to hear their voice, and we want to bring these allegations against Lenard Adams to court so he could answer for his actions,” Gonzales said.
Six more women have come forward since Monday, when police first announced the case against Adams, and detectives are investigating their stories, according to Gonzales.