Atlanta Police Report Series Of Robberies Initiated On Grindr

Officer Eric King, LGBT Liaison for Atlanta Police Department
Photo of the gay dating app Grindr
(image via Depositphotos)

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.

Officer Eric King, LGBT Liaison for Atlanta Police Department
Officer Eric King, LGBT Liaison for Atlanta Police Department

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.

In January 2020, I reported on a Michigan man whose Grindr date went horribly wrong after being targeted via the dating app.

And in 2017, four men pleaded guilty to violent home invasions set up on Grindr.

Watch the press conference by the APD below.

Gay Man Robbed & Beaten To Death Christmas Day Over $1

A 60-year-old gay man was violently beaten to death on Christmas Eve defending his partner from a gang of robbers who left the scene of the crime having stolen a single dollar.

Juan Fresnada and his 29-year-old partner Byron Caceres were leaving a McDonald’s restaurant in the Bronx near 1:30 a.m. when a man approached the couple demanding money.

Friends of the couple told NBC New York, “The guys just told them ‘Give me the money, give me the money.’ He was like, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’”

The couple reportedly tried to avoid the conflict by heading into a nearby deli, but the perpetrator followed them, and things quickly escalated.

“My husband tried to defend me,” Caceres told the New York Daily News. “The guy had his fist ready like he was ready to attack me. My husband said, ‘Don’t you get close to him.’”

Two other men joined the first and began to beat the couple. Defen defending his partner, Fresnada told Caceres to run to safety.

According to Caceres, the assault lasted between 10 and 15 minutes as the robbers beat Fresnada relentlessly before smashing a steel trash can on his head leaving him in the middle of East 165th Street with severe injuries to his legs and head.

When Caceres returned, he doesn’t own a cell phone and couldn’t call the police, his partner was bleeding and breathing heavily. The younger man attempted CPR but a bystander said that might not be a good idea since Fresnada was breathing so heavily.

According to NBC New York, throughout the ordeal, no one stopped to help the couple.

Eventually, an ambulance arrived to take the older man to a nearby hospital where he was treated for a fractured skull which led to swelling in his brain and blood pooling in the back of his skull. The younger man refused treatment and is expected to fully recover.

Fresnada remained hooked up to a ventilator and unresponsive until he died from his extensive injuries on Friday, December 27.

Caceres says he doesn’t believe the attack was a hate crime as he doesn’t remember hearing any homophobic slurs during the assault.

The two men met in 2015 through a program for low-income gay men and have been inseparable since.

The police have released this montage of surveillance footage of the men. Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

(source: NBC New York, New York Daily News)

World’s Chillest Man Sips Beer During Armed Robbery

St. Louis resident Tony Tovar is being called the “World’s Chillest Man” after video footage of him calming sitting through a bar robbery went viral.

According to NBC News, Tovar was having a beer at Behrmann’s Tavern on August 28 when an armed robber entered the establishment demanding the patrons get down on the ground and hand over their valuables.

Tovar, however, sat on his barstool and calmly sipped his beer while the gunman moved around the watering hole.

In surveillance footage, you can see the robber press his gun into Tovar’s arm. But the “World’s Chillest Man” just lits up a cigarette.

Tovar later said, “I just had a really good feeling he wasn’t out to harm anybody.”

Watch the Chill One in the report below.

Detroit Man Charged In Murder/Robbery Used Grindr To Find Victims

A Detroit man has been arrested in the assault and murder of two gay men.

According to DetroitNews.com, Demetris Nelson used the gay dating app, Grindr, to find and contact his victims.

Demetris Nelson, 26, was charged Friday in 36th District Court in Detroit with several crimes, including first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder and assault with intent to rob while armed and felony firearm possession, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

If convicted, he faces up to life in prison for the murder charge.

A magistrate ordered him held without bail and scheduled a probable cause hearing for July 26 and a preliminary examination into the case for Aug. 2.

Police say Nelson shot and killed Brian Anderson, 31, and shot and critically wounded Malcom Drake, 26, both of Detroit, last Saturday during an attempted robbery.

Prosecutors allege he shot them because they are gay and used a social networking app to locate the two victims.

Rio Olympics: Ryan Lochte “Robbery” Story Is Falling Apart

U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte

The story of Ryan Lochte and three other U.S. swimmers being robbed on Sunday appears to be unraveling as surveillance videos now contradict the original reports by the Olympic athletes.

The story seems to be getting bigger and bigger in part due to the egos of police officials who are upset over their city appearing to be dangerous and crime-ridden.

From the Daily Mail:

“They stopped at a gas station and they were all really drunk. They went to the toilet and damaged it pretty badly,” a source tells the paper. “The security guy saw them and started arguing with them – telling them they had to pay. They refused and argued back. He pointed his gun at them and insisted they pay for the damage – they gave him some money and left.”

Security footage showing the athletes demolishing the bathroom and being stopped by the guard has surfaced.

U.S. Olympic swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz

Swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were taken off a flight and detained by Brazilian police. A judge also ordered Lochte’s passport be seized, but he had already boarded a flight to Charlotte, North Carolina.

He even posed for a photo on his flight home with American Airlines flight attendant David Anthony, who posted the picture online with the caption, ’I couldn’t make it to #Rio for the Olympics this year, so the Olympics came to me. Now if only Ryan Lochte would go on a date with me!”

Lochte maintains he and his fellow swimmers were really robbed. He told Matt Lauer footage of him laughing and smiling after the incident were a result of his being “in shock.”

“I wouldn’t make up a story like this nor would the others — as a matter of fact we all feel it makes us look bad,’ Lochte told Lauer. “We’re victims in this and we’re happy that we’re safe.”

His attorney, Jeff Ostrow says the athletes are being unfairly targeted for shining a light on Rio’s crime problem.

[snip]

Ryan Lochte will likely not be extradited back to Brazil despite a judge’s order demanding he remain in the country and is probably in the clear so long as official charges are not filed against him in the case explained Ari Melber of MSNBC on Thursday morning.

Should it be determined that the entire story was made up, Lochte and the other men could be charged with false communication of a crime, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in jail in Brazil.

Some legal experts on CNN have countered that, bad behavior aside, if you imagine yourself at 6AM at a gas station with a person coming up to you with a gun demanding money, one might describe that situation as a “robbery” keeping in mind that the men were very possibly intoxicated.

What does seem clear is Lochte could be losing tons of endorsement cash in the aftermath of this debacle.

Stay tuned for further developments.

Ryan Lochte posed for this pic on his way home to the U.S. from the Rio Olympics