A group of kidnappers used Grindr to abduct a teenage boy, holding him for ransom before police were able to rescue him.
The incident occurred this weekend in central India, according to the Times of India. One of the abductors, 24-year-old Sachin Tomar, has been arrested, while two of his accomplices are still at large.
Grindr does not allow minors to use its app, but it’s easy to bypass its age restrictions. The boy, identified as either 14 or 15 years old, used the app to arrange a meeting at a nearby restaurant. He met Tomar there, then traveled by motorcycle to a plaza where the group of men forced him into the jungle. They then called the boy’s family to demand a ransom of 500,000 rupees — about $7,000 in U.S. dollars.
Police simply tracked to phone call to arrest the suspects, apprehending one after their car broke down. Two others fled and are now actively being sought by police. Police are also investigating whether the group carried out similar schemes in the past.
It’s not the first time Grindr has been used to harass gay and bisexual men or target them for violence. Earlier this year, five men in Texas were charged with kidnapping and assaulting as many as nine men that they met through the app. Some face up to life in prison for their role in the alleged scheme.
In September of 2018, a mugger lured multiple men through Grindr, robbing them at gunpoint at a house in Oklahoma City.
In another egregious case, a former Grindr user was surprised to find an ex-boyfriend maliciously impersonating him through the site, sending other users to the victim’s home and workplace for hookups.
After exhausting attempts to shut down fake profiles, Matthew Herrick sued the company for negligence and inflicting emotional distress. But a 3-0 ruling from the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that Grindr bore no liability because it offered reporting tools through the app, even though those tools proved insufficient for stopping the harassment.
Herrick’s lawyer, Tor Ekeland, has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. In contrast, similar abuse conducted through the Scruff was shut down within 24 hours.