Zebulon man charged with human trafficking after woman held at warehouse

06/09/2014 6:48 PM

02/15/2015 11:26 AM

Police on Monday arrested a man who they say met a German woman online, arranged for her to come to the United States, then held her captive inside a Zebulon warehouse.

Robert Whiteside, 44, whose most recent address is the 511 Mack Todd Road warehouse, was charged with sexual servitude involving an adult victim (human trafficking) and assault by strangulation. Police say more charges may follow.

Zebulon Chief Tim Hayworth said it appears Whiteside and the victim, a 34-year-old German citizen who was born in Russia, made contact through an online advertisement he posted seeking a companion or wife.

“She responded (to the ad) and found herself in a situation a lot worse than she expected,” Hayworth said.

He said the woman was held against her will and her financial and communication resources were taken away from her.

The woman managed to access a computer in the warehouse and emailed a person in Germany, who in turn called Zebulon police about 8 a.m. Monday.

Police found computers, guns and a hidden room upon searching the warehouse, which Whiteside rents. The Zebulon K-9 Unit was performing searches on the site late into the afternoon Monday.

Whiteside was taken to the Wake County Jail and was being held under a bond set at $250,000. He was scheduled for a first court appearance Tuesday.

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