Teens accused in plot to lure men in on Tinder and then rob them at gunpoint
Five teens have been arrested for a string of armed robberies against men who believed they were meeting up with a woman they had met on Tinder, police said.
Bryan Gonzalez, 19; Jonathan Jimenez, 18; Lesly Portillo, 18; Yarida Villareal, 19; and an unidentified 15-year-old male were arrested separately in San Jose, California. Police say they were booked on multiple charges, including robbery, carjacking, auto theft and hit and run.
The group created fake profiles on the Tinder dating app under the names Becky or Victoria, police said in a news release. They would communicate with men on the app and convince them to meet up.
“The times and locations were usually in the late evening hours on secluded streets near a park,” the release said.
Instead of Becky or Victoria, police said, several masked suspects would meet the victims and beat them, rob them, and carjack them at gunpoint.
The adult suspects are being held in Santa Clara County Jail and the minor was booked into Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Amanda Estantino of the San Jose Police Department’s Robbery Unit at 408-277-4166.
Tinder’s safety guidelines encourage users to take precautions when meeting people offline.
“Bad actors often push people to communicate off the platform immediately,” the company said. “Meet for the first time in a populated, public place — never in a private or remote location, and never at your home or apartment. If your date pressures you, end the date and leave at once.”