Four Texas teens charged with gun robbery and assault on Grindr

Police in Texas have arrested four teenagers who they say attacked and robbed a gay man they targeted using Grindr, the popular gay dating and hookup app.

Dusty Andrew Baily, Jr., 17, was arrested and charged with aggravated kidnapping and robbery, according to a Killeen Police Department news release. Three other teenagers, two aged 16 and one aged 15, were also charged with the same crimes, but their names were not released due to their ages.

An officer was on patrol shortly after 2 a.m. on June 2 when he saw the victim waving at him while he was surrounded by three people. The three alleged teenage attackers ran away when they saw the officer. The officer confronted Baily as he attempted to enter a home.

The victim told police he used Grindr to arrange a meeting at a nearby address, but was instead confronted by four individuals with what appeared to be shotguns and handguns. They demanded personal items and at least one of the suspects allegedly pistol-whipped the victim.

As the victim was being forcibly walked to his car to be transported to an unknown location, he saw the passing officer, waved frantically and got his attention.

A manhunt was immediately launched, including the use of a drone and K9 resources. The three other teens were found in a nearby shed. Police reportedly found a handgun and a BB gun that closely resembled a shotgun. The three teenagers were taken into custody.

Although popular with queer men looking to have sex, Grindr can also be used by criminals, homophobes, and state actors with malicious intent.

Earlier this month, it was reported that a court in Qatar sentenced 44-year-old Manuel Guerrerro Aviña to six months in prison (suspended), fined him 10,000 Qatari Riyals (approximately $2,750) and deported him after he fell into the trap had been lured by the state authorities. using a fake Grindr profile. Aviña was arrested on February 4 and later said he was tortured and placed in solitary confinement during his subsequent several-month stay in prison.

Last month, a Chicago man pleaded guilty in a federal courtroom in Ohio to extorting money and sex from men he met through social media and Grindr. Omoruyi Uwadiae, 28, lured several unsuspecting men across multiple states to send him nude or sexually explicit photos and videos, which he used to extort cash payments or sex. If a victim refused to comply with his demands, he threatened to reveal the images to the man’s family, friends and colleagues directly or through public disclosure online. For victims who were unable or unwilling to pay, Uwadiae reportedly demanded they make false incriminating statements to ensure their silence.

Police in Killeen said the teens arrested Saturday are currently being held at the Bell County Juvenile Detention Center. Bail for Baily was set at $300,000 per count, for a total of $600,000. No details were provided about the bail of the other teens charged in the incident.

Police said the investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about this or a similar crime is encouraged to contact them directly.

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