31-year-old Oklahoma man Deaunte McPherson was arrested on September 16 after police found him to be involved in kidnapping and robbing several men by luring them through the gay dating app Grindr, reported News OK.
At about 10 pm on September 8, the police received a call from a man saying he had just escaped from a home nearby after being kidnapped and robbed.
The victim said he was staying at an Oklahoma City hotel and had been talking with someone on Grindr. The two agreed to meet at the house that would eventually be dubbed the “house of horrors” by the media. After arriving at the house, the victim went into the garage. He told police that he couldn’t see anything inside because it was so dark.
Once inside, a Hispanic man told him to take a seat in a chair. As he sat, a black man came out of a door with a gun pointed at the victim’s head. The two ordered him to empty his pockets.
After complying, the men told the victim to lie on the floor, where he found two other people already lying.
The victim said he saw two more people come in, both told to empty their pockets and lie on the floor. However, the last victim to enter the garage hit the kidnappers with a piece of wood and fled. The kidnappers chased him, firing at least once.
He waited to make sure it was safe, then led the other victims out of the home and called the police.
After interviewing the victims, the police recognized the description of the suspect. The victims confirmed it was McPherson, and he was arrested.
KFOR reported that police are still searching for two more male suspects and one female.
The police department’s robbery unit noted that there have been reports of several robberies involving dating apps in the area, which leads police to believe there may be other victims.
Captain Bo Mathews said the type of incident isn’t anything new to law enforcement, saying people have been set up to be robbed in a variety of ways.
“We’ve seen people use this same kind of ruse for multiple reasons,” Mathews said. “Criminals are going to think of easy ways to make money, so they don’t have to find a job.”
Incidents similar to this have occurred across the country. In January, Metro Weekly reported that a Texas man who used Grindr to rob and assault gay men was found guilty and given a 15-year sentence.