A man from Texas used an app called Grindr, and LGBTQ dating app, to lure gay men and rob them. The man was handed down the sentence of 23 years behind bars.
NBC News reported that the man, 22-year-old Daniel Jenkins, held some of his victims at gunpoint. He then forced them to drive to ATMs to withdraw cash from their accounts and give them to him.
There Were Four Co-Conspirators
Jenkins is the fourth and last co-conspirator to be charged and sentenced for the scheme. NBC News reported that the other co-conspirators are Michael Atkinson, Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon, and Daryl Henry. All of them are also in their 20s.
Jenkins pleaded guilty in June to committing a series of robberies, carjackings, and other crimes in the Dallas area in December 2017. He received the heaviest sentence from the group, and Atkinson received more than 11 years in prison, Ceniceros-Deleon received 22, and Henry received 20.
NBC News said that the four men created fake profiles on Grindr and lured a total of nine men to an apartment complex in Dallas. When the men arrived at the apartment, they would be held at gunpoint and forced to drive to ATMs. The Justice Department added that aside from robbing the victims, the four men also used homophobic slurs and taunted them. Of the victims, four were physically assaulted, three were sexually assaulted, and one was wiped with urine and feces.
He Targeted Victims Because They Were Gay
NBC News quoted assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Kristen Clarke, saying, “This defendant targeted innocent victims for violent crimes simply because he believed they were gay. This sentence affirms that bias-motivated crimes run contrary to our national values and underscores the Justice Department’s commitment to aggressively prosecuting bias-motivated crimes, including crimes against the LGBTQI community.”
Grindr Criticized For Safety, Privacy Concerns
This is not the first time a person has committed a crime using Grindr. NBC News said that in 2016, Stephen Port, dubbed as “The Grindr Killer,” drugged, raped, and killed four men he met through the app. The safety guidelines of Grindr advised users that if they choose to meet with a person they met through the app, they should do so in public first or at a safe space.