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Chat room robber sentenced to more than 12 years

Elijah Whitney Cohens II pretended to be a police officer while robbing men he met online
by: Contributed photo Elijah Whitney Cohens II

A man who met his victims in adult chat rooms, then robbed them when they met in person, will spend more than 12 years behind bars.

Elijah Whitney Cohens II, 35, of Portland pleaded guilty on Dec. 14 to first-degree robbery, three counts of second-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and two counts of criminal impersonation of an officer before Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Angel Lopez.

On Tuesday, Dec. 27, Lopez sentenced Cohens to 150 months, or 12-and-a-half years, in prison. He also must pay more than $7,500 in restitution and serve three years of post-prison supervision after he is released.

Cohens met at least four men in gay chat lines in May and June, under the guise of being romantically interested. Instead, when they met face-to-face, he robbed them while armed with a gun while claiming to be a police officer.

The victims, including a Gresham man, ranged in age from 20 to 60, said prosecuting attorney Christine Mascal.

Two of the men were driven around, taken to an ATM and ordered to withdraw cash. Cohens showed up at another victim's apartment and 'cleaned it out,' stealing everything from electronics to a watch. The fourth victim had his cellular phone stolen.

One victim reported that Cohens wielded a knife. Others saw the butt of Cohens' gun.

None were seriously injured, although Cohens tied two of the victims up during the robberies.

Police used DNA from a cigarette butt left at one of the crime scenes to identify Cohen as the suspect. Cohens DNA was entered into the state database due to previous felony convictions, which include robbery, assault, burglary and forgery.

Detectives still suspect Cohens may have victimized other men in the same way. Anyone with information about Cohens is encouraged to call Portland police Sgt. Mike Smith at 503-823-0400.