Police: Woman strangled after meeting man off dating site

Alan Richard Schmitt. (Credit: Newport News Police Department).

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A man has been charged for allegedly strangling a woman after the two had met from an online dating site.

Newport News police say officers were called to Vernon Place Tuesday night for a reported assault.

77-year-old Alan Richard Schmitt may have traveled over two hours from his Colonial Beach home to meet up with a 23-year-old he met on the dating website Plenty of Fish.

The 23-year-old is a family friend of the woman who lives on Vernon Place in Newport News — where the attack allegedly took place. She did not want to be identified, but in reference to Schmitt, the woman inside said, “We only saw him when he was here the other day.”

According to the criminal complaint, Schmitt showed up, and was much older than he made himself out to be on the site. She’s not interested, but says they can still be friends. “I didn’t get involved,” said the woman at the house.

READ: Full Criminal Complaint

Schmitt then took her shopping at the mall, buying her $400 of clothes. They return to the house, and Schmitt wants the clothes back — including a new shirt she is wearing.

This is what the victim told police and is reported on the criminal complaint:

“…she told him he could not have the shirt back…he grabbed her around the neck…he then threw her to the ground…and got on top of her…he proceeded to choke her causing her to struggle to breathe.”

The victim “advises during the struggle her necklaces got torn off of her. I observed her necklaces were in pieces, and there were small bleeding scratches around her neck,” Officer Jeffrey Cumming wrote.

We told the woman at the house the police say Schmitt strangled a woman. She responded, “Yes, that is all I know. He strangled her, he choked her, and that was the end of it. She is not coming back here, she is afraid.”

According to the criminal complaint, this is what Schmitt told police:

“He went to get the clothes back, they started to argue…(she) stepped in front of him and pushed him in his face…he lost his balance and reached out, grabbing (her) by the neck…he was unsure as to how she ended up on the ground as well.”

Police charged Schmitt with felony strangling of another causing wounds or injury.

We asked a neighbor next door, who would not give his name, what he thinks about what happened. “I think it is terrible to do something to a person like that…any man who would strangle a woman should be dealt with,” he said.

Schmitt will be back in court on Nov. 14.