By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com January 29 2014 2:55 PM ET
A former pastor from Colorado Springs, Colo., was arrested Friday on suspicion that he posed as a U.S. marshal in order to rob a gay man who thought he was meeting someone for casual sex.
Officials with the Denver district attorney's office say Michael Abromovich posted an ad on Craigslist under the name "Mike," claiming he wanted to connect with other men for casual sexual hookups, according Denver's KCNC TV. One man, after exchanging photos with "Mike," went to the hotel where the men had agreed to meet and was greeted by Abromovich brandishing a gun and yelling that he was a U.S. marshal. Official affidavits reviewed by KCNC contend that Abromovich then threw the man against the hotel door, handcuffed him, and searched him. Abromovich is accused of then ordering the victim inside the hotel room, where he was held at gunpoint — though police now believe the weapon was a paintball gun — as Abromobvich took the man's laptop, iPad, iPhone, wallet, and car keys, claiming they would be "sent to the lab to look for evidence." The victim was not identified.
Colorado law enforcement officials issued a warrant for Abromovich's arrest, and the former pastor was arrested following a traffic stop in Phoenix December 20, when he showed officers a false badge and claimed to be a cop. Abromovich was extradited to Colorado and appeared in court Tuesday to hear the felony charges against him, which include aggravated robbery, kidnapping, and impersonating a police officer.
Police believe Abromovich may have robbed other men in a similar style and are asking any potential victims to come forward with information.
Abromovich was a pastor at Set Free Ministries in Colorado Springs, a national organization that ministers to the homeless, substance abusers, and people with a variety of other problems. Pastor Robert Murphy, who served alongside Abromovich, told KCNC that Abromovich had recently begun showing odd behavior that led Murphy to distrust him. It's unclear in what capacity — if any — Abromovich was formally employed by the ministry.
Watch KCNC's report below.