The City of Atlanta Police Department says the man in this surveillance footage is a suspect in a series of armed robberies by thieves who are using Grindr to find their victims. (YouTube/FOX 5 Atlanta)
Police in Atlanta, Georgia have warned that thieves are using Grindr to find their victims.
At least eight people have been robbed between February and May after planning dates on Grindr, the City of Atlanta Police Department (APD) said at a press conference on Wednesday (5 May).
The APD said the robberies happened in remote locations throughout the city and that they believe there are more victims, but they may be too afraid or ashamed to come forward.
Sergeant Rodney Jones explained how the suspects use Grindr to “lure the victims to their location”. He said the suspect is usually armed with a handgun and robs the victim after the date has concluded.
“After the date concludes, the suspect then robs the victims often taking wallets, keys or vehicles,” Jones said.
Police also released a surveillance video of one of the suspects, asking the public to help identify him. According to the police, the man is one of three suspects thought to be involved in the string of robberies. The Atlanta Police identified the suspect as a Black male, in his late teens or early 20s, around 5’11” or 6″ in height and his hair is in “small twists or dreads” that are about 3 to 4 inches.
Officer Eric King, the APD’s LGBT+ liaison, warned LGBT+ people to take precautionary measures before meeting anyone on a dating app. He advised people to notify a friend or partner when “you’re going to meet somebody” and to always meet in a public place “before you reconvene somewhere more intimate”.
He added: “Listen to your inner voice.”
One victim told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he was carjacked by someone he met on Grindr in March. He said he met the suspect and drove him to an area of Hightower Road in Atlanta. Shortly after they arrived, the man said his date pulled out a gun and demanded: “Give me the car and everything you got.”
The suspect then drove off with the victim’s car, the police said. The vehicle was later recovered.
Crime Stoppers Greater Atlanta posted about the incident on Facebook. The organisation also included photos of two individuals thought to be related to the incident and asked anyone with more information to come forward.
Tipsters can remain anonymous, and be eligible for rewards of up to $2,000, by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477 or online at www.StopCrimeAtl.org.