The London police are on the lookout for an armed gang of four who are using Grindr, the popular dating app, to target and rob unsuspecting men. So far, there have been two separate incidents in which men who used the app to meet dates were attacked by the gang carrying knives.
The two victims are reported to have gone out to meet dates after using Grindr and chatting online. Detective constable Sheree Yates from Croydon police said: "The victims thankfully did not suffer serious physical injuries but have been left very shaken by these incidents."
With the suspects still at large, Croydon police have doubled their efforts to find the gang by making an open appeal to the public. "We are keen to identify the suspects as soon as possible and are appealing to anyone with any information to contact the police," said Yates.
The police have also advised active members of Grindr, particularly men, to take precautions when setting up dates with strangers. Yates added: "I would urge everyone who uses online dating apps and sites to take steps to help them to stay safe whilst meeting strangers."
Grindr is a dating app that allows men to search for suitable dates who are located close to their place of residence. According to the company's statistics, roughly two million people worldwide use the app on a daily basis. An official spokesperson said: "Grindr has always encouraged users to treat the platform as they would any other social interaction in their lives, with a measure of caution and an awareness of their own safety."
In light of the seriousness of the incidents, a Grindr spokesperson added: "There are many ways to verify and take steps to protect yourself, from meeting in more public spaces to getting phone numbers and speaking beforehand. We take these matters very seriously and cooperate with local law enforcement at all turns where we can."