17-year-old held in string of Grindr robberies in Atlanta

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Four months after warning local gay men of someone using Grindr to rob several victims, Atlanta Police announced an arrest last week.

Investigators identified 17-year-old T’andre Dashawn Seals as the suspect in eight armed robberies between February and May. All of the victims were lured to a remote location before the robberies. The perpetrator robbed all eight, had sex with at least one and physically attacked at least two.

“After the date concludes, the suspect will rob the victim, often taking their wallets, keys or even vehicles,” APD Sgt. Rodney Jones told reporters in May.

One man was shot, another beaten and other victims left stripped of their clothing, according to the earlier police warning to affected communities.

“We have had eight instances where male victims were lured to a remote location by the use of the Grindr app,” Jones said during the live TV announcement (watch). “The suspect will use the Grindr app to exchange and identify victims and try to lure them to a dating location.”

Atlanta police Sgt. Rodney Jones said eight men using Grindr were robbed since early February. (Image via YouTube)

Pattern of behavior

Most of the incidents unfolded in public spaces after the suspect lured his victims there. In three instances, the assailant ordered the victim to strip naked or down to his underwear. The victims range in age from 20 to 59.

The suspect stole seven of the victims’ cars . He tried to steal the eighth vehicle but crashed into a mailbox and fled on foot after shooting the vehicle owner. That incident was the only one in which the suspect and the victim had sex. In the other seven robberies, the suspect robbed the victims without any sex taking place, according to police.

“His match told him to get on his knees so that he could perform the sexual act that he intended to do,” according to an Atlanta police incident report describing an armed robbery on April 27. “While on his knees, his match pulled out an all black 9mm gun and instructed [the victim] to get naked. [The victim] took his clothes off and gave the young male all of his belongings.”

After releasing surveillance video, police spent the summer gathering information. Several warrants were posted for Seals’ arrest in late August. Police did not say what led to the identification of the suspect.

Seals turned himself in on Aug. 30. Police announced the arrest on social media Sept. 2.

Seals remains in Fulton County Jail. He stands charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault, hijacking a motor vehicle and possession of a knife during the commission of a felony.

The charges relate to just one of the eight incidents in which police suspect Sears, but Atlanta Police Sgt. Jarius Daugherty told the AJC that officers “anticipate additional charges as the investigation progresses.”

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