Online dating is a convenient way to meet new people, especially in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. For one Pennsylvania woman, though, it brought her face to face with a man who police believe is very dangerous.
Harrisburg resident Monica White spoke with the Washington Post, detailing her relationship with an alleged serial killer, Anthony Eugene Robinson, whom she met through a dating site. In the interview, published by the Post earlier this week, White provided insight about the mysterious man, known to move frequently and change jobs often, who has been dubbed the “Shopping Cart Killer” by authorities.
Back in the fall of 2020, White was 53 years old and ready to date again after going through a painful divorce, she said. She created online dating profiles, and recalls being contacted by Robinson with a message: “Hi beautiful, I’d like to get to know you better.”
The flattery continued with Robinson telling White her he liked her interest in art and her work as a preschool teacher. Robinson, who is now 36, said he was looking for something serious, and preferred the maturity of older women. He confided in her that he was never married, but did have a daughter who was around 6 years old and a son who died as a young child.
Their relationship proceeded quickly from texts to video chats to Robinson’s first visit to Pennsylvania in late 2020. Unbeknownst to her, she was forming a bond with a menacing character.
Robinson is an alleged serial killer, police say, who has been publicly linked to the deaths of six women, two of whom he has been charged with killing: Allene Redmon, 54, and Tonita Smith, 39, both of Virginia. Police believe the women were killed in 2021, sometime between Oct. 24 and Nov. 14. Their bodies were discovered together on Nov. 23, 2021, in a vacant lot in Harrisonburg, Virginia, next to a shopping cart.
Investigators say Robinson met Redmon and Smith on dating sites and allegedly lured them to hotels where he killed them and dumped their bodies in a vacant lot. He allegedly used a shopping cart to transport their remains, police say.
Surveillance videos from the hotel, that prosecutors say show Robinson, on separate occasions, leaving a room and pushing a shopping cart with the women’s bodies was played for the judge at his preliminary hearing on Monday. The judge found sufficient evidence for the cases against Robinson to proceed to a grand jury.
Robinson, who lived in Washington, D.C., at the time he was arrested, also is suspected in three other homicides that took place that same year.
In December 2021, police found the remains of Cheyenne Brown, 29, and Stephanie Harrison, 48, in a large plastic container near another shopping cart in Fairfax County, Virginia. The women’s remains were found near the Moon Inn Hotel, where Robinson had been staying, and the deaths have been connected to him via cellphone and video evidence, authorities say.
He has since been linked to the death of Sonya Champ, 40, who was found in a shopping cart in Northeast D.C. in September 2021.
Robinson is not currently facing charges in connection with deaths of Brown, Harrison or Champs.
More recently, police have reopened the investigation into the death of Robinson’s former fiance. On Valentine’s Day 2018, Skye Allen, 30, was found unconscious and struggling to breathe by her mother inside the bedroom Allen shared with Robinson. At the time, her death was determined to be caused by cardiac arrhythmia.
In the interview with the Washington Post, Monica White said Robinson had mentioned being engaged to a woman who died.
White said that Robinson never discussed being violent towards women, but there were some dark moments. For example, he would sometimes briefly choke White while they were intimate, leaving her gasping for air. He also showed her a scar where he alleges he was stabbed. He never explained the details of the stabbing, but he said would kill anyone who tried to attack him with a knife again.
By early 2021, things took a turn toward the unusual for White and Robinson. Their relationship had continued, with Robinson expressing his desire to move with his daughter to Pennsylvania. In February 2021, he arrived in the Harrisburg area for White’s birthday, with a surprise of his own.
“When (Robinson) got here, he said ‘I’m going to have to get a job or something in order to get back home cause I don’t have my ticket money,'” White said.
Robinson got a job at a warehouse in Pennsylvania, while staying with White for three weeks and earning the money for his return trip.
The relationship crashed intensely toward its end not long after when at White said that at her birthday party, Robinson got drunk and made sexually suggestive comments toward White’s son and the teenage son of a friend.
There was a confrontation about the incident the next morning, which escalated to a fight and White calling the police to get Robinson to leave, which he finally did.
This wasn’t the last she saw of him, though. Weeks later, Robinson Facebook messaged White asking her to meet him at the Harrisburg hotel where he had allegedly been living.
“I will give you whatever you want,” Robinson told White, adding that he wanted to buy synthetic marijuana.
She declined to meet him, and only saw him once more: She was driving through Harrisburg and was shocked to see him walking on the street, looking unkempt compared to his usual appearance.
Months later, in December 2021, a relative forwarded White a story about Robinson being called a serial killer by police. She was supposed to be with her niece who was giving birth, but White was so stunned by the information that she felt she could not leave her home.
Read more about White’s encounter with Robinson on the Washington Post’s website.