ZEBULON: Warrant says man admitted to choking German woman - WSPA.com

Warrant: Zebulon man admitted to choking German woman

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Robert Whiteside makes his first court appearance on charges that he held a woman against her will in a Zebulon warehouse. Robert Whiteside makes his first court appearance on charges that he held a woman against her will in a Zebulon warehouse.
Police say a 34-year-old German woman was held against her will in a Zebulon warehouse. Police say a 34-year-old German woman was held against her will in a Zebulon warehouse.
ZEBULON, N.C. -

A man suspected of holding a German woman against her will in a Zebulon warehouse admitted to police that he choked the woman and hit her with a glass bottle, a search warrant released Thursday says.

Robert Edward Whiteside, 44, was arrested Monday after police received a tip from a man in Germany claiming that his wife was being held against her will. According to a search warrant released Thursday, police say the man received an email from his estranged wife, which he then forwarded to law enforcement in Zebulon.

Police had the email translated from German and learned of the woman's claims the she was being held in a Zebulon warehouse and that she had been stripped of her finances.

Following up on the tip, police contacted Whiteside and arranged for him to meet officers at the warehouse on Mack Todd Road.

Zebulon Police Chief Tim Hayworth said Whiteside arrived at the warehouse with the woman, who then told officers that she had been in the United States since June 4, and that she had been physically and sexually assaulted.

Because the woman is a possible sexual assault victim, WNCN is choosing not to reveal her identity.

The woman told officers Whiteside took all of her money, preventing her from leaving the country, the warrant says. She also told officers that Whiteside requested more money from her husband in Germany.

The warrant says Whiteside admitted to the responding officers that he choked the woman as well as hit her with a bottle. Whiteside has subsequently been charged with human trafficking, assault by strangulation and second-degree sexual offense.

In searching the warehouse, officers discovered a secret bedroom behind a closet wall, which the warrant says could be "locked with bolts from the inside so as to appear that the room did not exist."

"It appeared to be part of a wall until you pressed on it, then it opened into a bedroom," described Scott Finch, the lead investigator on the case.

The warrant says officers found multiple loaded firearms locked inside the hidden room, including a revolver in a night stand. Police also seized condoms, personal lubricants, miscellaneous sex toys, white rope, a purple whip and a "sex apparatus."

During his first court appearance on Tuesday, Whiteside shook his head as the judge read the charges against him. Whiteside told the judge that nothing like this had ever happened to him and he was not a troublemaker.

"All I do is work," he told the judge. "I own my own business and I work."

Hayworth said police believe Whiteside met the 34-year-old woman when she responded to an online personal ad, and that he paid to fly her from Germany to the United States.

Whiteside is being held on a $750,000 secured bond.

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