Compton Man Pleads Guilty to Robbing Men He Met on Grindr

Derrick Patterson would contact people on the social platform, meet them at their homes or hotel rooms -- allegedly for sex -- and then ask to use their phones, according to his plea agreement.

Grindr logo on a phone
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A Compton man pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal criminal charges for robbing men he met on the online dating app Grindr, officials said.

Derrick Patterson, 23, admitted to robbing five people from June 2021 to March 2022. He also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft charges, according to the US Attorney's Office.

Patterson would contact people on Grindr, meet them at their homes or hotel rooms -- allegedly for sex -- and then ask to use their phones, according to his plea agreement.

In July 2021, Patterson took possession of a man's phone and threatened him with a kitchen knife before stealing $3,950 from the man's Venmo account and making two purchases. He also used the phone to request money from the victim's friends and family, officials said.

In another incident, Patterson took a man's phone and chased him with a stun gun, demanding money and later jewelry. Using the stolen phone, Patterson asked the man's contacts for money and opened a line of credit in the man's name. Patterson then purchased AirPods and a hotel room, authorities said.

Grindr is a social networking platform for gay, bisexual, transgender, queer people and men who have sex with men.

NBCLA reached out to Grindr to comment on this case and safety on the app.

A Grindr spokesperson responded:

"Grindr takes the privacy and safety of our users extremely seriously and we work constantly to better protect our users. Grindr publishes a Holistic Security Guide and Safety Tips available from within the Grindr App and on Grindr’s website, and we encourage users to be careful when interacting with people they do not know. We encourage our users to report improper or illegal behavior either within the app or directly via email to, and to report criminal allegations to the authorities and, in these cases, we work with law enforcement as appropriate."

Tips to Date Safe Online

  • Look up potential dates on social media
  • Meet in public settings, preferably during the day
  • Tell a friend where you are going
  • Have your own transportation
It's not just The Tinder Swindler. $547 million was lost to romance scams in 2021, up 80% from the prior year. Unfortunately, dating apps can't guarantee that the person you're messaging has your best interests in mind. So we talked to sex and relationships researcher Justin Lehmiller for tips on protecting yourself from scams when you're looking for love.

For more dating app safety tips, click here.

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