LOVELAND - Police have arrested a young Loveland couple accused of hatching a bizarre plot to lure a man and his 6-year-old daughter to a motel for sex, but rob the man and take his child instead.
But after police received a tip about the plot, an undercover officer arranged to meet Sareena Morrison, 18, and Dustin Canup, 20, Friday at the Hi-Way Motel in Loveland where police arrested the couple. Both suspects live in Loveland.
Police said the couple admitted they had posted messages on a sex website targeting men who agreed to bring a child to a motel, where Morrison would have sex with the man's child for money.
But Morrison and Canup told police they never intended to have sex with anyone. It was all a ruse to extort money from the man seeking illicit sex -- or to just rob him -- and then take his child to raise as their own, according to an arrest affidavit for the couple.
The couple said they needed money because Canup had lost his job, police said.
The investigation began on Jan. 22, when Loveland police said they received a tip from a concerned citizen about someone claiming to be a 15-year-old girl who was offering herself for sex on the Internet, the affidavit said. The tipster gave police a cell phone number for the teenager.
A Loveland police investigator learned through Larimer County Sheriff's Office records that the phone number was linked to Morrison. Police obtained a school photo of Morrison from Thompson Valley High School in Loveland.
On Thursday, Loveland police began an undercover investigation of Morrison. The Colorado Springs Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force assisted on the case.
Police said during a series of conversations and text exchanges, Morrison agreed to meet a man -- in reality an undercover investigator -- and his 6-year-old daughter for sex at the Hi-Way Motel, located at 1027 E. Eisenhower Blvd.
Morrison also texted that she would be joined by a male friend, later identified as Canup, who would also "engage in sexual acts with a 6-year-old girl," the affidavit said.
When Morrison and Canup knocked on the door of a motel room that had been rented by undercover detectives, police moved in and arrested the pair.
While searching Canup, officers found a 12-inch knife strapped to his waist and handcuffs in his pocket, the affidavit said. Police said they also found a cellphone on Morrison that contained the text messages she had exchanged with undercover investigators over two days.
Police said the suspects were advised of their right to an attorney and to remain silent, but each voluntarily signed forms waiving their Miranda rights and agreed to talk with investigators.
According to the affidavit, Morrison admitted setting up an account on a website that touts itself as a "moral free zone," and includes nude photographs of young females.
Morrison said she posted messages on the website and "lured men to engage in talks about meeting and having sex with her," the affidavit said. "Morrison and Canup monitored the account together and selected men who responded to claims that they wanted Morrison to engage in sexual acts that included children and who claimed to offer money to Morrison to engage in sexual acts with them."
The couple said the plan was to meet these men and "extort them for money or take their money by force if necessary when they met" at the motel, the affidavit said.
Morrison and Canup said they intended to meet the man and his daughter at the motel and "force the man to relinquish his 6-year-old daughter and take any money he had," the affidavit said.
The couple said they believed the man would not go to police because "this man would know that he, himself, was committing a crime by offering his 6-year-old daughter for sexual acts," the affidavit said. The couple said they "planned to threaten the man with calling the police if he didn't comply with their demands."
Police said there's no justification for the couple's alleged attempts to target pedophiles.
"If you commit criminal acts on criminals, it's still a crime," said Loveland Police spokesman Sgt. Mike Halloran.
Canup said he had the large knife "in the event he needed to use the knife to force the man in Loveland to relinquish his daughter and/or money," the affidavit said.
The couple also said they planned to handcuff the man if he resisted their demands.
"Morrison and Canup admitted that they were planning on kidnapping this 6-year-old girl from Loveland, keeping her and raising her as their own daughter," the affidavit said.
The couple told police they had plans to extort or rob another man in Englewood on Friday -- until they were arrested, the affidavit said. Police said they found text messages on Morrison's phone, confirming her arrangements to meet the Englewood man who said he'd pay $650 for one night of sex with Morrison.
Police said Canup and Morrison each face prosecution on six felonies: conspiracy to commit kidnapping, attempt to commit kidnapping, conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, attempt to commit aggravated robbery, conspiracy to commit extortion and attempt to commit extortion.
They were both held in the Larimer County Jail on Monday night. Canup's bond is set at $100,000. Morrison's bond is set at $75,000.
Neither suspect has a prior adult arrest record in Colorado.