Carjackers Lure Victims Via Grindr Dating App in San Bernardino County

Two different men were arrested after setting up blind dates on the social media app Grindr to lure two different victims before carjacking them in San Bernardino County, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday.

Both suspects, 24-year-old men, were accused of carjacking two victims within 10 days of each other in Adelanto and Victorville.

The Victor Valley Sheriff Station began investigating after a suspected carjacker, identified by the Sheriff's Department as Steven Thomas, lured his victim to the intersection of Muskrat Avenue and Air Expressway in Adelanto on May 15.

Thomas was accused of using a gun to steal the victim's car and wallet.

Deputies said he was captured days later in Desert Hot Springs and arrested. Thomas was recently paroled for possession of stolen property, the Sheriff's Department said.

The second victim reported getting carjacked Monday near Yates and Ridgecrest roads in Victorville. Allan Soto, identified by deputies as the suspect, was accused of luring the victim to the spot then stealing the victim's car "using force."

Soto was taken into custody hours later.

Both victims got their cars back, deputies said.

The Sheriff's Department was encouraging people to be careful when using dating apps, and to contact any suspicious activity to 1 (800)-78CRIME.

Grindr says its app has "supplanted the gay bar and online dating sites as the best way for gay men to meet the right person, at the right time, in the right place."

"Grindr takes our user's safety extremely seriously, as well as their privacy. As part of both joining the app, and on our page, we educate users on best practices around safety. It’s important to have fun, but be smart and do it safely. In addition, whenever an incident arises, we fully co-operate with law enforcement globally, while protecting user privacy within constraints of the law," a Grindr spokesperson said in an email.

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