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Wanted Denver pastor arrested in Phoenix

DENVER -- A pastor at a ministry for homeless people has been accused of luring a man to a Denver motel by offering sex and then claiming to be a U.S. marshal while handcuffing and robbing the victim, authorities said Wednesday.

Michael Todd Abromovich, 43, stole a computer, iPad and phone from the victim before releasing him, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Abromovich was arrested last week in Phoenix on a warrant listing charges of kidnapping, theft and impersonating a peace officer. He was extradited to Denver and was being held in lieu of $75,000 bond.

He has not entered a plea, and court records don't indicate whether he has a lawyer.

Set Free God's House, a Colorado Springs ministry for the homeless and people suffering from addiction, said Abromovich served as a pastor there for more than a year, preaching, teaching Bible class and raising money.

His fundraising allowed the ministry to keep operating, said Charliene Simmons, senior pastor at the ministry.

``Because of him, we were able to keep our doors open and help more homeless people to get off the street,'' she said.

Simmons said she believes Abromovich had training in theology.

Abromovich had been arrested on a separate theft charge on Dec. 9 in El Paso County, which includes Colorado Springs. Online court records did not include details, and a sheriff's spokesman didn't immediately return a call.

KCNC-TV in Denver first reported Abromovich's arrest on the kidnapping and impersonation charges. That incident occurred on Nov. 15, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

The victim told police he responded to an online offer of sex from someone named Mike, and they exchanged photos and agreed to meet at a motel. Outside the motel room door, a man matching the photo of Mike yelled ``U.S. marshals,'' slammed him against the door and handcuffed and searched him, the victim said.

The attacker then forced him into the room, where a woman pointed what appeared to a gun at him, the victim said, according to the affidavit. Police said it was a paintball gun.

The victim said that at one point, the attacker took cash and a debit card from him as well as the computer, iPad and phone. The victim said the man left with the electronics, saying the devices would be sent to a lab for a search for evidence. It wasn't clear if he left with the other items as well.

The motel manager told police the room had been booked in advance and a motel clerk gave the key to a man who had a badge and was wearing a shirt with ``agent'' on the sleeves. The clerk did not ask the man for other identification, the manager said.

The victim reported the incident to police the next day after calling the U.S. Marshals Service and being told his assailant wasn't a marshal.

Charles Ahmad of the Marshals Service in Denver said the service helped track Abromovich to Arizona. Abromovich was engaged in suspicious activity when he was contacted by Phoenix police, who discovered the Colorado arrest warrant, Ahmad said.

Ahmad said he could not elaborate on the activity.

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Follow Dan Elliott at http://twitter.com/DanElliottAP

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