LAKELAND (FOX 13) - A 21-year-old Lakeland man had a terrifying experience after using a dating app called Grindr. He was held up at knifepoint and carjacked.
"The plan absolutely was all along to rob him," Polk Sheriff Grady Judd told FOX 13.
The victim, who we are calling Jose, messaged a guy who used ‘James’ as a fake name on the app. James' real name, deputies say, is Wyatt Davis.
They decided to meet up at a house in Kathleen. When Jose got there, investigators say, Davis was with two other young men who he introduced as his brother and cousin. They were actually Davis's buddies, Dalton Overmark and Austin Fenimore.
Investigators say Jose took the guys to a nearby Circle K to buy cigarettes, then took them home again. After a few minutes, he sent Davis another message asking if he wanted to go out to eat. Davis said yes.
When Jose went back to the house, one of the guys pulled a knife on him and stole his wallet. He begged for his life.
"Crying, crying, crying. Please don't kill me," he pleaded.
The guys drove his car to Banana Road, where they dumped him off, then to Illinois where a relative lives.
Investigators arrested them there, and brought the trio back to Polk County where they are in jail.
"When you go on Grindr or any other app to meet someone that you want to hook up with," said Judd, "you're trusting that they're not robbers, or thieves or murderers."
That’s a bad assumption, according to the sheriff.