Johannesburg – Dating app Grindr is in the spotlight again, but this time a Wits University student had to be rescued by police after he was kidnapped on what he thought was a date.
The student, aged 18, went missing on September 19, 2023, in Johannesburg. His room mate reported the matter, and it was discovered that he was kidnapped.
It is reported that he was lured to the suspects through a dating site called Grindr. The suspects demanded R30 000 from his family for his safe return.
Gauteng SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Brenda Muridili said on September 20, 2023, the team, comprising members of Gauteng Crime Intelligence, Organised Crime Investigations, Hillbrow detectives, Johannesburg trio detectives, Johannesburg Metro Police K9, security companies that included Vision Tactical, JT VIP, CAP Security, Fidelity Strategic Team, and Cellular Data Investigation, operationalised the information that led them to an ATM where one of the suspects was expected to withdraw the ransom money on the M2 Road.
Muridili said the police kept a stake-out at the site and arrested the suspect as soon as he arrived.
“He then led the team to Denver Men's Hostel, where the victim was found bound and unconscious. Six more suspects were arrested, and the victim was rushed to the hospital for medical attention,” said Muridili.
She further said the team was currently investigating the possibility of linking these suspects to cases in Gauteng with the same modus operandi.
“All seven suspects will be charged with kidnapping and extortion, and they will be appearing before court soon,” she said.
According to information online, Grindr is the world’s number one free dating app serving the LGBTQ community (gay, bisexual, queer, or just curious people).
Commissioner of police in Gauteng, Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela, commended the swift response by a multidisciplinary team that rescued the student.
The team arrested seven suspects and recovered three knives and the student’s personal items.
Independent Media has reported a number of incidents where victims fell into the hands of evil criminals who target LGBTQ groups, who mostly use dating apps to find love. Grindr is the most popular one where police are still investigating.
The Star contacted Grindr via their help centre, but at the time of publication, there was no response.