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Kent Police arrest man for robberies targeting gay victims

Kent Police arrested and King County prosecutors charged a Kent man for robbing two people after setting up separate dates via an online dating service and phone app.

Police arrested the man for investigation of robbery on April 18 when detectives conducting surveillance at his home confirmed his presence inside his East Hill apartment, then took him into custody as he left the residence, according to a Kent Police media release. The arrest was made without incident.

Detectives determined that the man met his victims using a cellphone dating app called Scruff frequented by members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. The program allows its users to locate other users via a GPS-generated map.

In this case meetings were prearranged, with the man selecting remote locations. Once the parties met, the man would produce a semi-automatic handgun and reportedly rob his victim.

While the Kent Police have identified two victims, Seattle Police detectives also have located three victims.

“We’re concerned that there may be still more victims in the community that are afraid to come forward,” said Kent Assistant Police Chief Pat Lowery. “With this suspect now in custody, we are urging any other victims to contact us and report if they were also victimized.”

The man in custody is a 32-year-old black man, though some have described him as appearing younger. He is 5 feet 7 inches tall with a medium build. He has dark hair and facial hair. Police are not releasing his photograph or a more detailed description in order to ensure the integrity of the investigation.

Anyone with additional information or those who may have fallen victim to this crime spree are asked to call Kent Police Sgt. John Pagel at 253-856-5910.

(See related story in the Kent Police Blotter)

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