Man Poses as Attractive Blonde Woman and Tricks Active Police Officer to Hand Over Patrol Car, Vest and Buy an iPhone
He also scammed other people out of tens of thousands of dollars.
A young New Zealand man took catfishing to the next level: He created a fake Tinder persona of an attractive blonde woman, which he used to convince a police officer to hand over his patrol car and bulletproof vest. According to the New Zealand Herald, 23-year-old Tyler Rawiri Tetera used the car and vest in a complicated scam in which he bilked three people out of tens of thousands of dollars. They bought him iPhones and a car. One even had sex with him. Read on to find out how he pulled off the con, and how he got caught.
Tetera met his first victim—named in court documents as Ms. H—on Tinder in January 2020. For the duration of their nine-month relationship, he duped her into thinking he was an undercover police dog handler. He sent her photos and videos of himself in police uniform, even audio from a police radio.
Tetera ultimately convinced the woman to buy him a car under her name, saying it would increase her credit score. She also bought him an iPhone after he said he couldn't buy it himself because he had business disputes with major cellphone providers.
Tetera scored his next victim by catfishing him as a woman. He created a Tinder profile as "Tori," using photos from a former policewoman's social media accounts. The scammer then began DM'ing victim #2, a police officer referred to as Mr. L. "Tori" told Mr. L she was working in an anti-corruption operation and needed his help to plant a listening device in a police car.
In November 2020, Mr. L brought a marked police patrol vehicle to Auckland and handed it over to Tetera, who said he was Tori's colleague. Later that month, Mr. L gave Tetera his spare body armor vest for Tori's use. Tetera scammed Mr. L into buying an iPhone 12 for Tori. He returned the police car but not the vest, the Herald reported. Later, he told police after his arrest that getting the patrol car was "worth it for the thrill of driving a Holden Commodore."
Using Tori's Tinder profile, Tetera met a 32-year-old security guard and father of two who dreamed of becoming a police officer. Over texts and Snapchat, "Tori" convinced the man she was a high-ranking undercover officer who could help him join the force. Just one thing: He had to meet her boss, who was Tetera in disguise. Wearing Mr. L's police vest, Tetera drove a car outfitted to look like a police vehicle to meet the man. The two struck up a friendship. Tetera ultimately convinced the man to transfer $15,000 to him to invest in a watch. The two men also had sex, which was initially orchestrated by "Tori."
Tetera was accused of duping the security guard into having sex with him by threat, and the case went to a jury trial. Prosecutors alleged that Tetera, posing online as Tori, used the promise of three-way sex and a dream job to get the man to have sex with him. "I hated every moment of it," the man said of their sexual encounters. "[Tori] kept saying I had to prove myself and later on to love [Tetera]." After two days, a mistrial was declared, and prosecutors dropped the sex charge.
But Tetera ultimately did face justice. He pleaded guilty to 11 other charges: six of obtaining by deception, three of impersonating police, and two of possessing police property. He was sentenced to three years and two months in jail last July, the Herald reported.
Posing as a police officer to deceive civilians was a breach of trust, the judge told Tetera at sentencing, calling his deception "quite extraordinary." The duped police officer ended his victim impact statement by saying, "Words cannot describe what that feels like."