A string of robberies and at least one sexual assault in Dallas tied to the gay social app Grindr are being investigated as hate crimes, police report, NBC DFW reports:
The department is investigating a series of assaults that happened in December where victims were lured to an apartment where they were robbed and beaten. The robberies and assaults have all involved Grindr, a smartphone app for gay men to meet other men in the area.
Community policing group “Take Back Oak Lawn” is reminding community members to be vigilant. The organization started after a similar string of assaults in the Oak Lawn area three years ago.
“We truly believe this is not a direct result of just an app or just a website, you know, or just a bar or just a place you went. This affects, unfortunately, people from all walks of life. It’s very sad to see in this scenario that people are being targeted for their sexual orientation, and that’s what makes this very heinous to us,” said founding member Lee Dougherty.
The Dallas Morning News says there were seven victims in December and more suspects are believed to be at large, though one man, a 17-year-old, is in custody.
Police said the victims were robbed and beaten. One was sexually assaulted.
Grindr is a dating app geared toward the gay community, and police said the suspect in the December crimes used the app to find victims.
“After further investigation one of the robberies has been reclassified to a sexual assault offense,” police said Saturday. “There are indications that the offenses were motivated on the perceived sexual orientation of the victim and are being considered hate crimes.”
Watch a report from NBC Dallas: