Miami Man Faces Life in Prison For Kidnapping and Robbing Gay Men Using Online Dating App

A 21-year-old Miami man who admitted to carjacking, kidnapping, and robbing five victims, pled guilty in federal court to 17 counts of violence. Stevenson Charles is facing the possibility of life in prison.

Charles admitted that he targeted gay men that used a an app called Grindr, an online dating network for gay and bisexual people. He committed these crimes from October 23 to November 6, 2022.

In October 2022, Charles invited a man that he met on Grindr to his home in Miami for sex. Once there, he threatened the victim with a gun, and forced him to withdraw over $1,000 from two automated teller machines. The following month, he repeated the scheme and forced another Grindr user to withdraw over $1,500 from ATMs, as well as purchase items with the victim’s credit card.

Charles also met another potential victim on Grindr, and they agreed to meet in November 2022. Once there, Charles pulled a gun on the victim and told him that he believed gay people should be punished.

Charles forced the man to take him to his home in Aventura, where he was roomates with a couple. He then pointed a gun at the couple and demanded money from them as well. After robbing them, Charles forced the group into the victim’s car, instructing them to drive to more ATMs to collect cash.

When they arrived at the Aventura home, Charles stole the couple’s phones and left with the man he had met on Grindr. During the drive, Charles stopped in a secluded area by some railroad tracks and shot the victim several times, including once in the head. Despite the injuries, the victim managed to call 911 and survived. Charles was later arrested in Georgia.
Charles faces a hate crime enhancement under federal sentencing guidelines and will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck in Miami on April 24.

This case underscores the importance of online safety and highlights the dangers of meeting strangers through social networking applications. It is a reminder to exercise caution and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.