Dallas police said a series of assaults stemming from meetings through an app for gay men are being investigated as hate crimes.
The department is investigating a series of assaults that happened in December where victims were lured to an apartment where they were robbed and beaten. The robberies and assaults have all involved Grindr, a smartphone app for gay men to meet other men in the area.
Community policing group "Take Back Oak Lawn" is reminding community members to be vigilant. The organization started after a similar string of assaults in the Oak Lawn area three years ago.
"We truly believe this is not a direct result of just an app or just a website, you know, or just a bar or just a place you went. This affects, unfortunately, people from all walks of life. It's very sad to see in this scenario that people are being targeted for their sexual orientation, and that's what makes this very heinous to us," said founding member Lee Dougherty.
Dougherty says the organization used Facebook to remind everyone to be vigilant, meet people in common places and let friends know who they're meeting and where they're going.
Dallas police said they had one person in custody, and detectives are working to identify additional potential suspects. The person in custody has not been identified, but previously police described a person in connection with the attacks as a 17-year-old Latin male.
Anyone with information related to these offenses is asked to contact Detective Jarc at (214) 671-3584 or their local police department immediately. If you wish to remain anonymous, please contact Crime Stoppers at (214) 373-TIPS, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information called into Crime Stoppers that leads to the arrest and indictment for this felony offense and other felony offenses.