Local News

Rope, sex toys, other items seized from Zebulon warehouse

Posted June 12

Robert Edward Whiteside appears in Wake County District Court June 10, 2014, a day after his arrest by Zebulon police on accusations that he held captive a woman from Germany in a local warehouse for several days.

— Investigators seized firearms, pornography, rope, sex toys and other items from a Zebulon warehouse where they say a man held a woman captive for several days, according to a search warrant describing the case as a "human trafficking/slavery case."

Police became involved Monday after the 34-year-old woman from Germany sent an email to her estranged husband asking for money, and he became concerned and contacted authorities.

Officers were able to link the email to Robert Edward Whiteside, 45, who runs a refurbishing business from the warehouse, at 511 Mack-Todd Road. When police went to meet him, the woman was with him. They questioned the two separately and arrested Whiteside.

Whiteside, who was in jail under a $750,000 secured bond Thursday, is charged with second-degree sex offense, sexual servitude of an adult victim and two counts of assault by strangulation.

Police searching the warehouse Monday found a "hidden room disguised as a closet wall" where Whiteside had been living and the door could be locked from the inside with bolts "so as to appear that the room did not exist," according to the search warrant, which was made public Thursday.

Investigators found multiple loaded firearms as well as knives, a passport, airline receipts, prescription pills, a white rope, a purple whip, a camera, computer equipment and what was described as "unknown liquid in vials."

The warrant also stated that Whiteside admitted to both strangling the woman and hitting her with a bottle.

Appearing in court Tuesday on some of the charges he faces, Whiteside told District Judge Vince Rozier that the case was a misunderstanding.

"I think he is shocked that somebody who visited him a few days led to criminal charges against him," Whiteside's attorney, Robert Padovano said Thursday after his client appeared in court on the sex offense charge.

Zebulon Police Chief Timothy Hayworth said Whiteside and the woman met on a dating website and that she traveled from Germany to meet him.

The woman, who arrived in town June 4, told police that Whiteside took all of her money so that she couldn't leave the country and that he also requested more money from her husband.


This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • RandolphBloke Jun 13, 4:07 p.m.

    Don't know why WRAL won't allow my comment. I only referred to the book Shades of gray. My... View More

    — Posted by ungolo

    Really? LOL You do realize freedom of speech does not apply, Constitutionally, on a private web site don't you? You aren't dealing with the government.

  • Shaking My Head In Amusement Jun 13, 3:38 p.m.

    They could pull those same items from almost anyone's house, among everything else in the house.
    View More

    — Posted by smcallah

    Watch, his lawyer approach that "misunderstanding" as a case where the creep thought the woman was willingly participating in parts of the BDSM sexual lifestyle. Afterall, Mr. Parvodano was the one who represented one of the teens accused of strangling Matthew Silliman with zipties and a plastic bag over his head and said that he was participating in assisted suicide, not murder. Concocting some crazy idea after he's given some lame excuse is well on his playing field.

  • kbird Jun 13, 3:20 p.m.

    Even if the items they found can be "taken out of context" I don't know how you explain the hidden room. Normal people, even sexual deviants who aren't breaking laws, don't have one of those

  • glarg Jun 13, 2:44 p.m.

    So it looks like there will be weeks of publishing lists of Whiteside's personal possessions with the implication that they are sinister before he can hire an attorney.

    Can we also see the Russians description of what she looking for on this dating site?

  • anneonymousone Jun 13, 1:34 p.m.

    DH1964 asked, "I see. So it's OK to hold someone against their will, so long as they 'went there in the first place?'"

    I'm glad you asked the question, but that defense was used by Mike Tyson, among others.

  • hardycitrus Jun 13, 1:23 p.m.

    Not the Zebulon in the Bible?

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jun 13, 12:15 p.m.

    I love reading what investigators find at people's homes and such. LOL Because without any context, items from any of our own houses would make us look like psycho criminals.

    Looking forward to the result of this investigation...

  • Lightfoot3 Jun 13, 11:53 a.m.

    Everyone needs a hobby.

  • Raleigh Rocks 1 Jun 13, 10:28 a.m.

    This story is messed up. Shes married, met on computer, came here to meet him and was kidnapped and sexually tortured? Thats strange...plus, Should be no bail, or at least a million plus for this weirdo.

  • ungolo Jun 13, 10:04 a.m.

    Don't know why WRAL won't allow my comment. I only referred to the book Shades of gray. My freedom of speech is being censored ridiculously, while others say all kinds of innuendo!