Over the past four months, at least 8 gay men in Atlanta have been reported being robbed by men they met on the dating app Grindr.
During a press conference Wednesday, Sergeant Rodney Jones of the Atlanta Police Department’s robbery unit told reporters, “From February to May, we have had eight instances where male victims were lured to remote locations by use of the Grindr app.”
“After the date concludes, the suspect will rob the victim, often taking their wallets, keys, or even vehicles,” added Jones.
Each of the victims told the police they met their assailants on Grindr. The robbers, using stolen photos for their profile, would strike up a conversation with the intended victims and then move the chat to text messages.
Jones says most of the robberies occurred with the perpetrators wielding a handgun “at the end of the date.”
One victim reported that he had picked up the Grindr ‘date’ and drove to a remote part of Atlanta. Once there, the robber pulled a gun demanding the victim “give me the car and everything you got.”
Police say they’ve traced at least one Grindr profile to some of the robberies, and described the potential suspects as being six feet tall, slim but muscular build, late teens to early 20s, dark-skinned Black men with short dreads.
The authorities believe one alleged robber is responsible for many of the crimes which have taken place in the northwest part of the city, while another man (or possibly two) have committed similar crimes in the southeastern area of Atlanta.
It’s possible even more Grindr-related robberies have occurred as police believe some men may be embarrassed to report the crimes.
Also taking part in the press briefing was Officer Eric King, who serves as the LGBT liaison to the Atlanta Police Department. King offered some tips on how to improve safety when meeting someone new from Grindr.
He advised having a video chat with the potential date before meeting up in person. And if you are driving to meet that person, look up the address to make sure it makes sense as opposed to showing up and finding it to be a remote location.
“Find a partner or a friend that you trust that you can notify when you’re going to meet somebody,” added King. “Meet at a grocery store. Meet at a public place before you reconvene somewhere more intimate.”
This isn’t the first time Grindr has been used to target victims.
Earlier this year, Instinct reported on a Houston man charged with capital murder and robbery after setting up his target via the dating app.
And in June 2020, a Louisiana teen was the victim of a grisly assault that left him in a coma for three days after his assailant choked him and attempted to amputate his hands.
Watch the press conference by the APD below.