Grindr - Photo courtesy of Poetra.RH on Shutterstock

A Compton man pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges for targeting and robbing gay men he met on the Grindr dating app.

Derrick Patterson, 23, entered his plea to robbery and aggravated identity theft charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He faces up to 22 years behind bars at sentencing on Sept. 19, prosecutors said.

Patterson targeted his victims by using Grindr. Prosecutors say he met his victims at their homes or in hotel rooms, purportedly for sexual encounters, then robbed them. During the robberies, Patterson pulled weapons — knives or a taser gun — on his victims, then demanded money and their cell phones, before leaving the scene with the victims’ wallets.

On other occasions, Patterson physically assaulted his victims. He then later withdrew money from victims’ bank accounts or used their credit cards for his own personal expenses, according to the criminal complaint filed in Los Angeles federal court.

During a robbery in October 2020, Patterson stabbed a victim in the chest. The victim survived and later positively identified Patterson during a photographic lineup as his attacker, federal prosecutors said.

A final robbery occurred on March 26 of this year at a hotel in Beverly Hills, according to court papers.

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