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January 19, 2019

Two men used Grindr to lure victims, beating and robbing them

January 10, 2019
The “Grindr” app logo is seen on a mobile phone screen. (Leon Neal / Getty Images)

Two men have been charged with hate crimes after cops say they used the dating app Grindr to lure gay men with the intention of robbing and assaulting them.

Daniel Jenkins, 19, and Michael Atkinson have been charged with federal hate crimes, carjacking, kidnapping and using a firearm, according to the 15-count indictment.

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Jenkins and Atkinson used the app Grindr — which calls itself “the world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people” — to lure victims with fake profiles they created. The men committed the assaults on at least nine men ranging from ages 19 to 57 during the first two weeks of December 2017.

Victims were assaulted, humiliated, robbed and held at gunpoint.

One man was forced to drive to an ATM on Dec. 7.

A profile picture of one of the victims was used on a Grindr account to lure a new victim on the same day.

At least one victim was sexually assaulted with an object, and one was urinated on and smeared with feces, according to the documents.

On Dec. 11, one victim was taken to Atkinson’s home where he was robbed.

“Criminals are using apps like Grindr to single out victims based on their sexual orientation. My office is committed to rooting out these despicable crimes motivated by hate,” said Erin Nealy Cox, federal prosecutor and U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas.

The indictment was filed in early August 2018 before the two men were arrested in the third week, as reported by the Dallas News.. The indictment was updated Tuesday with additional counts before it was unsealed.

Jenkins and Atkinson remain in police custody.

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