Suspect convicted of robbing men he met on dating app
A 23-year-old man who allegedly met gay men on the Grindr online dating application and then robbed them pleaded guilty on July 12 to federal criminal charges.
The defendant, Derrick Patterson, of Compton, entered a plea agreement with prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and one count of aggravated identity theft. Patterson admitted in his plea agreement to robbing five victims from June 2021 to March 2022. Authorities believe he may have been responsible for 21 robberies, but as a condition of Patterson pleading guilty, will not pursue any further counts. Patterson is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 19 and faces 22 years in federal prison.
In his plea agreement, Patterson admitted to using the Grindr app, a social networking platform for the LGBTQ community, to identify and target victims. Patterson met his victims at their homes or in hotel rooms under the pretense of having sexual encounters. Once inside with the victims, Patterson asked to use their phones, according to the criminal complaint. In many cases, he stole the phones and used them to withdraw money from the victims online, or extorted victims into paying him to return their phones, authorities alleged.
Two of the alleged robberies occurred in Beverly Hills, three occurred in West Hollywood and 10 happened at residences and hotel rooms in the Hollywood area, the criminal complaint outlined. The rest occurred in other parts of Los Angeles.
The FBI’s investigation into Patterson is ongoing. Anyone who believes they may have been a victim or was targeted by Patterson is urged to contact the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at (310)477-6565.