Four men from Frisco, Texas were indicted last week on federal hate crime and conspiracy charges after embarking on a spree of serial home robberies with a goal toward defrauding gay men.
Pink News reports the armed criminal coterie allegedly used Grindr maliciously arrange private meetings with gay men in their homes. They robbed their dates and bound them into submission, yelling derogatory comments at them.
A federal grand jury returned an 18-count indictment charging Anthony Shelton, Nigel Garrett, Chancler Encalade and Cameron Ajiduah. According to Texas local publication CBSDFW they were charged with conspiring to cause bodily injury to people due to sexual orientation, kidnapping, carjacking and possession of a firearm.
Only two of the four men, Garret and Ajiduah, have pleaded guilty to the charges and could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
"The Justice Department will not tolerate hate crimes against any individual based on sexual orientation," said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore. “Hate crimes are violent crimes, but also attack the fundamental principles of the United States.”
The North Texas Gay and Lesbian Alliance President Jeanne Rubin told CBSDFW she is glad this crime is being taken seriously.
“You can be scared as a homeowner if your neighbor is robbed, but it’s different if you feel like you’re being targeted for some reason and in this case a whole community can feel like they’re targeted.”