A Victorian man who used a fake name to hunt for victims to rob on Grindr was foiled by a former high school classmate who notified police.
Thomas Samas sent “sexualised” messages to 37 Grindr users under the pseudonym “Timothy Hines” in March this year, the Whittlesea Leader reported.
The 22-year-old asked the Grindr users if they had a car and would drive to meet him, the court heard.
Samas, who was already on bail and a community corrections order, messaged one victim just after 1am on March 27.
He asked the other man if he wanted to “blow and go in you’re [sic] car?” and if he did, “come see me”.
The pair kept messaging via Snapchat, however the victim recognised Samas in a photo he sent. Both men had attended the same high school.
The victim then drove to the meeting spot in Mernda, north-east of Melbourne, just after 1.30am. He said a “jittery” Samas got into his car and later produced a knife.
“This is a bad situation,” Samas said.
The other man asked, “What do you want me to do?”
“You can give me your car,” Samas said.
Samas also demanded the victim give him his car keys and phone. However the frightened victim escaped the car with both items.
The victim later alerted police to his attacker’s true identity. The next day, Samas was arrested.
Samas pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery on Grindr user
Samas admitted using an alias on Grindr while he was high on methamphetamine but denied the robbery attempt.
He claimed the victim “misunderstood the situation” and was “under the impression I was trying to steal his car”.
However Judge Michael Tinney said Samas’s claim was “a bit hard to swallow”.
He sentenced Samas to a minimum 14 months’ prison after he pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery.
“You had decided to commit the offence… upon a person who you well knew was quite vulnerable,” the judge said.
“It was a soft target attempted robbery upon a lone vulnerable male in the early hours of the morning.
“You produced the knife and you made the demand in what was obviously a frightening event.
“You’re not some silly teenager. You were 21, you’re on bail and also on a community corrections order when you chose to offend in this way.”
On October 25, Samas was sentenced in the County Court of Victoria to a minimum 14 months’ prison after pleading guilty to attempted armed robbery.
The 22-year-old also pleaded guilty to committing an offence while on bail. He was sentenced to a minimum 28 months’ prison.
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