LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — Detectives say a hookup on the dating app Grindr led to the kidnapping and robbery of a Lakeland man and the theft of his car, which was recovered in Illinois.
Three people have been charged in connection with the incident.
Investigators say On April 12, the victim used the dating app Grindr to make arrangements to go to the movies with another man, who went by the name of “James.”
James asked the victim if he could pick him up. The victim agreed and drove to 4116 Rolling Oak Drive in Lakeland. After arriving at the residence, James and two other males got into the victim’s car and they went to a Circle K to get some cigarettes.
The victim dropped all three males off at the home on Rolling Oak Drive and drove away. He drove to a nearby stop sign and messaged James and asked him if he wanted to get something to eat with him. The victim then went back to the home and James got into the car. Then James told the victim he wanted to say goodbye to his brother and cousin.
Detectives say James pulled out a kitchen knife and put it up to the victim’s abdomen and demanded that he get out of the vehicle. He got out of the car and James and his brother and cousin got into the car and drove away.
As the victim was walking down the road to get help, the trio drove up to him and James demanded that he get back into the car.
The victim said that James pushed him into the back seat of the car. While in the car, he saw that one of the suspects had a wooden bat and hand restraints. The suspects drove around and asked the man for his wallet.
He gave them his black bag, which had a brown leather wallet, with his driver’s license, a debit card, and two credit cards. The suspects then dropped the victim off on Banana Road and refused to give them his iPhone, which was in the center console of the car.
The victim then called 911.
The victim’s vehicle was later found in Greenfield, Illinois. Three suspects were later arrested in connection with the kidnapping and carjacking of Salazar. All three suspects were arrested in Illinois with the victim’s car; Austin Fenimore, Dalton Obermark, age 16, and Wyatt Davis, age 16. The two teens are being charged as adults.
All three are facing charges of Armed Burglary, Robbery with a Firearm, Grand Theft of a Vehicle, and Armed Kidnapping.
“Our victim thought he was meeting one person, then there were three with crime on their mind. Not dating,” Sheriff Grady Judd said.
Sheriff Judd said this is a prime example of why you should never meet someone you don’t know in private.
“Meet them at a restaurant. Meet them at a store. Meet them where’s there’s people around. Meet them where you can run to someone and say help!” he said.
“This time he got away with his life. It only cost him his car. He’s lucky, real lucky,” Sheriff Judd said.