A man from Texas has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for using Grindr gay app to "lure" homosexual men to his apartment to assault and rob them at gunpoint. Daniel Jenkins, 22, who was sentenced on Wednesday has admitted to having victimised as many as nine queer men (between the age of 19-57) along with three of his friends in Dallas.
How Daniel Jenkins targeted his victims?
According to reports, Jenkins and his three friends created fake Grindr profiles in December 2017. They invited gay men through the popular LGBTQ dating app to a residential apartment in Dallas. When the victims arrived at the apartment, Jenkins and his friends forced them to hand over cash at gunpoint.
They even forced the victims to withdraw cash from ATM machines apart from robbing them of their possessions, including their wallets, cars, identification cards, drivers' licenses, credit and debit cards, and cellphones, according to reports.
Who were Daniel Jenkins' partners in the conspiracy?
Apart from Jenkins, Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon, Daryl Henry and Michael Atkinson are the other three perpetrators involved in this case. The Department of Justice in an official release stated that Jenkins is the last of the four perpetrators to be sentenced in connection to the case. He had pleaded guilty to committing the crime in June.
Jenkins admitted that his friends involved in the conspiracy committed hate crimes attempted to sexually assault one of the victims. Jenkins also revealed that he had targeted nine men in total.
Grindr Warns Users of Its 'Safety Guidelines'
Meanwhile, Grindr is a popular LGBTQ dating app that was launched in 2009. The social platform claims to be the "world's largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans and queer people," according to reports.
Grindr is no different than many other dating apps as it comes with the risk of meeting strangers (creepy, dangerous criminals) in private locations. However, the app does warn its users about its safety guidelines. It recommends app users to check that the matched person on the dating app "is truly part of the LGBTQ+ community" through other social media handles and advises them to first introduce themselves in public places only.
"We are always saddened to hear about the difficult and sometimes tragic experiences that our community members have experienced both online and off," according to a statement from Grindr.
"Grindr encourages users to be careful when interacting with people they do not know and to report improper or illegal behavior either within the app or directly via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Users are encouraged to report criminal allegations to local authorities, and in these cases, we work directly with law enforcement as appropriate," Grinder further told USA TODAY.