A new warning to dating app users around Baltimore: Be very careful who you agree to meet up with.
Police say they’re searching for three men who carried out at least four robberies over a 17-day period in late October and early November. All four incidents happened at apartment buildings in Northeast Baltimore – two on Loch Raven Boulevard and one apiece on Woodbourne Avenue and Hillen Road – and were orchestrated through social dating apps, police said. Police spokesman T.J. Smith said in the release that Grindr, a gay dating app, “has been the social network of choice.”
According to police, a trio lured their victims into laundry rooms and robbed the victims at gunpoint in two of the four cases.
Police described the three suspects as black males ages 19 or 20 years. The first is about six feet tall, weighs 170 pounds and wore a grey hoodie and red sneakers; the second is about the same size, has a beard and mustache and wore a dark bomber jacket; the third is about 5’6” tall, weighs around 150 pounds and wore glasses and black North Face jacket.
The accounts used in these cases were set up specifically to carry out the robberies, said Lt. Jarron Jackson, a spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department.
It should go without saying, but these app users should aim to meet in a public place for a first date, whatever their intentions. Criminals are learning they can find easy victims through these hookup services. In London, the number of crimes carried out on Tindr and its predecessor, Grindr, have increased by 2,000 percent in the last five years, per The Telegraph.
Jackson said that in Baltimore, Grindr-linked robberies have appeared over the last month, though police have seen robberies taking places via other online outlets like Craigslist.
“As social media and technology advances, criminals are using these technologies to find victims and take peoples’ things,” Jackson said.
Jackson added that users should go to public, well-lit places and let someone know where they’re going to avoid ending up in bad situations. Most important, he said, is to “go with your gut,” and leave if something doesn’t feel right.
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