Erin Marie Todd, 19, told police the idea came from a Netflix movie, while her boyfriend, 21-year old Sidney Johnson says it came from his mother's success at making money by offering sexual services online.
Whatever the case, much like police lure would-be johns to hotels to bust them, this duo did so to rob them at gunpoint.
"These two individuals came up with a scheme last summer to put ads on Backpage enticing people to meet up with them with the plan that when they did so, they would rob them of belongings and money," said Ofc. Jennifer Peach of the Baltimore County Police Department.
From June through September of last year, the couple carried out their crimes to near perfection.
According to charging documents, one victim agreed to meet two college girls who were offering full body massages and were quote---‘ready for anything’ at a house on Idylwood Road in Pikesville.
He was robbed of $1,500.
Others rendez-voused behind a Howard Johnson motel on Reisterstown Road or the Ramada Inn just off of the beltway always with the same result.
That is, until the day that Johnson, armed with a replica bb or pellet handgun, had a victim pull out the real thing and fired real bullets at him as he ran away.
That's how the crime spree ended, and through telephone records and surveillance footage ultimately police caught up with these Backpage bandits.
"We do believe there were more incidents,” said Peach, “We believe there were some victims that didn't want to come forward and talk to us. Right now, we have at least five incidents. We know there's more, and we would like anybody who was involved in any of this to come forward so we can add these additional charges against these people."
The couple told police they came up with the scheme so they could move out of Johnson's parents’ house and cover the rent of living on their own.
Of the crimes that police are aware of, the duo made off with almost $4,000 in cash, cell phones and other property.