This is the online profile picture for "Ethan," who is suspected of assaulting and robbing a man at the Lincoln County Walking Trail.

LINCOLNTON – A Taylorsville man was assaulted and robbed at the Lincoln County Walking Trail after arranging a 4 a.m. date with a man online, authorities said.

The 34-year-old victim, who had met the man on a social dating website, agreed to meet with the suspect Wednesday morning at the trail in the 2600 block of Laboratory Road, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.

The victim told deputies that after the two met in a parking lot they walked down the trail for about five minutes before going through a wooded area to the South Fork River. They sat on the river bank and talked until the suspect said he needed to go to the restroom, the victim told deputies.

The suspect reportedly walked behind the victim and struck him in the left side of the face, causing him to black out for a short period of time. When the victim regained consciousness, he saw the suspect running down the path on which they had entered.

The victim reported that the suspect took his cap and head light, $300 in cash, and a vape pen and tubes.

Because he was not familiar with the area, the victim said he drove around for about 30 minutes before stopping at a convenience store in the 1400 block of East Main Street. Authorities and Lincoln County EMS responded.

The victim was treated at the scene then transported to Atrium-Lincoln for additional treatment for a cut over his eye.

The suspect goes by the profile name of “Ethan” on the dating website.

Anyone with information on the identity of the suspect can contact the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 704-732-9050, the Lincoln County Communications Center at 704-735-8202 or Lincolnton/Lincoln County Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909.


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