Polk County Deputies arrested two 16-year-old boys and a 23-year-old man in the robbery and kidnapping of a Lakeland man. According to Sheriff Grady Judd, the plot started with 16-year-old Wyatt Davis creating a false profile on the dating app Grindr using the name James.
"(The victim) thinks James is an adult. James is 16-years-old, as we know now. He's got a history of burglary and theft and violation of probation as a juvenile," Judd said.
According to Judd, the victim agreed to pick Davis up and drove to an address in a rural area where three men walked up to his car asking for a ride to the gas station. Unknown to the victim, none of them lived in the home...it's actually vacant.
"So our victim loads these three people who he doesn't know into the car, who he met as a result of this Grindr app and thinks he's meeting one person and there's three people, and he takes them (to the gas station)," Judd explained.
Judd said Wyatt and another man, 23-year-old Austin Fenimore, walk into the gas station, grabbed drinks and walked out. The victim then took all three back to the abandoned home and drove away. The victim then contacted Wyatt again, asking if he wanted to grab something to eat. Wyatt agreed and the victim picked Wyatt up a second time.
"Ah ha, he pulls a knife and robs the victim," Judd said.
At that point, Fenimore and another 16-year-old, Dalton Obermark, got back into the car and drove off, leaving the victim on the side of the road. Shortly after, Judd said the three turned around and force the victim back into his car. Judd said the three then stole the victim's wallet and phone and then forced him out of the car on a different street.
All three were eventually found in Illinois. The two juveniles are being charged as adults.
"You should not meet up with a complete stranger on an app, unless you're going to meet this complete stranger in a very populated area. It's just a bad idea," Judd said.