Police have arrested a woman in Queens, New York after she allegedly gave her lookalike cheesecake laced with a tranquilizer in order to steal her identity, according to CBS News. Here’s that sentence one more time because I know, it’s a lot: a woman allegedly gave her lookalike cheesecake laced with a tranquilizer in order to steal her identity. (How could someone do that to another person? How could someone do that to a cheesecake?)
As Pix 11 reports, 42-year-old Viktoria Nasyrova allegedly brought a cheesecake drugged with phenazepam (a tranquilizer developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s) to her 35-year-old lookalike’s house in August 2016. The victim, Olga Tsuyk, says she began to feel drowsy and ill after eating the cake and subsequently passed out. She told authorities the last thing she remembered before losing consciousness is seeing Nasyrova sitting next to her.
The next day, Tsuyk was found dressed in lingerie with phenazepam pills scattered around her, according to CBS News. Authorities believe the scene was meant to look like the victim had tried to overdose. As Tsyuk claimed to CBS News’ 48 Hours, Nasyrova wanted to make it look like a “suicide.” Homeland Security agents tested the pills as well as the cheesecake and confirmed both contained the tranquilizer drug. In an interview with 48 Hours, Nasyrova denied the allegations, saying through a Russian translator, "I know this young woman, I can tell you that I did not force her to eat it."
Thankfully, Tsuyk survived. However, when she returned from the hospital, she noticed a number of her personal belongings missing. Her passport, employment authorization card, some cash, and a gold ring were among the allegedly stolen items, according to Pix 11. Detectives pointed out that the two shared some physical resemblance: both have dark hair, similar skin complexion, and speak Russian. It’s unclear how the two women knew each other in the first place.
“This is a bizarre and twisted crime that could have resulted in the death of a Queens woman, whose only fault was that she shared similar features with the defendant,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said on Wednesday, according to CBS News.
Nasyrova was arrested in Brooklyn on March 20, 2017.
However, the alleged poisoning isn’t the only crime Nasyrova was reportedly wanted for.
The alleged international fugitive was suspected of preying on men in New York, leading to her 2017 arrest for grand larceny, according to CBS New York. As “international fugitive” implies, Nasyrova’s alleged crimes were not limited to the states. She was also allegedly wanted after the mysterious 2014 death of a Russian woman, Alla Aleksenko, who disappeared and whose remains were found months later.
Nasyrova moved from Russia to New York after the alleged murder, according to CBS New York. Interpol released fliers of Nasyrova hoping someone would turn her in, but she managed to arrive in New York and continue living her life.
“She was not living the life of somebody that was on the run, or in hiding,” private investigator Herman Weisberg told CBS New York, “She was very, very out there just like any normal Brooklynite.” Weisberg was working with NYPD to track Nasyrova down as she was wanted for allegedly drugging men she met on dating sites and then robbing them while they were passed out. “She cares a lot about money, apparently, because that’s what motivated her,” Weisberg also said.
In an interview with 48 hours, Nasyrova denies trying to poison Tsuyk. “I know this young woman, I can tell you that I did not force her to eat it,” Nasyrova said through a Russian translator.
If convicted, Nasyrova could face up to 25 years in prison. She is next due in court May 25.