Police are investigating a string of assaults and robberies in southeast Dallas as possible hate crimes in which victims were targeted through Grindr, a dating app geared toward gay men.
Four victims on Dec. 12 were lured to a vacant apartment in the 8000 block of Chariot Street after communicating with suspects on Grindr, according to a police news release.
The victims were beaten and robbed. Three other similar robberies happened nearby -- two on the same block and one other a block away -- during the same week, police said.
A police official said Saturday that one victim using Grindr reported being robbed this week in the same area.
"There are indications" the incidents were "motivated on the perceived sexual orientation of the victim and are being considered hate crimes," the news release said.
A 17-year-old male has been arrested and faces four counts of aggravated robbery. Investigators believe 3-5 other suspects could be at large, police said.
If a crime is committed with the intention or hate or intimidation in Texas, it can come with a stiffer penalty or sentence.
Rafael McDonnell with The Resource Center in Dallas, a service organization for the LGBTQ community, said the incidents should remind anyone using a dating app to be vigilant.
"I think we're all on edge and on guard," McDonnell said. "They see us as a mark or as a target, and we have to take care of ourselves."
Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to contact detectives at 214-671-3584. Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 214-373-TIPS.
A $5,000 reward for information resulting in any arrests or indictments is also being offered.