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Texas man who used app to target gay men pleads guilty to hate crimes

Four people used the app Grindr to target gay men, who they then robbed. In some cases, they were assaulted.

A Texas man who used a dating app to target gay men to rob and assault has pleaded guilty to hate crimes, officials said.

Daniel Jenkins, 22, is the fourth and final person to plead guilty in the robberies, carjackings and other crimes in the Dallas area in December 2017.

He pleaded guilty Wednesday to a hate crime count, conspiracy to commit a hate crime count and also kidnapping, carjacking and using a firearm during a crime of violence, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas said.

The four men used the dating app Grindr to lure people to locations where they were robbed, held at gunpoint, and either held captive while members of the group took out cash from their accounts or were forced to drive to ATMs and take out money, officials said.

There were at least nine victims in all, officials have said.

“These defendants brutalized multiple victims, singling them out due to their sexual orientation," Prerak Shah, acting U.S. attorney for the district, said in a statement. "We cannot allow this sort of violence to fester unchecked."

Members of the group taunted their victims with gay slurs. One of the robbers wiped feces on two people among other assaults, according to court documents.

An attorney listed as representing Jenkins did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday night.

Jenkins faces up to 26 years in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 6, prosecutors said.

Three other people — Michael Atkinson, Daryl Henry and Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon — have pleaded guilty in connection with the case. They are scheduled to be sentenced June 23.

Members of the group took their victims' driver's licenses and threatened to find them if they reported the crimes to police, court documents say.

In a different hate crimes case in Texas, four men were indicted in a series of home invasions in which Grindr was used to find their victims in 2017. They were sentenced to between 10 and 20 years in prison, officials have said.