Two teenagers allegedly used the gay dating app Squirt to blackmail a Canberra man into draining his bank account.
- Lachlan Robert Wilson, 18, and a 16-year-old boy allegedly used a dating app to lure a man to steal money
- Detectives arrested the pair on the weekend and charged them with armed robbery and blackmail
- Police urge the public to take precautions before meeting people they only know online
Police said the pair — Lachlan Robert Wilson, aged 18, and a 16-year-old boy — met the man on Friday night in Hawker in Canberra’s west and threatened him with a knife.
The pair allegedly forced the man to withdraw about $100 from an ATM and stole other items from his car.
Officers said the teenagers also demanded the man meet them again so they could collect more money.
Court documents reveal the alleged victim was using the male dating site Squirt.org last week, and began exchanging messages with someone who had the name “youngboihorny”.
The user initially said he was 18, before later saying he was 15.
The alleged victim told police he thought he was being set up and wanted to expose the person involved, so he made arrangements to meet.
The victim said when he went to find the address he was given it didn’t exist, and when he turned around he was confronted by two people wearing hoodies and black balaclavas.
He said one was being verbally aggressive, calling him a paedophile, and threatening him with a steak knife.
The man said he was forced to withdraw $100 from an ATM, and made to show the pair that there was only a few more dollars left in his account.
He told police the two then said they would contact him in a week to collect a further $200, and if he did not pay they would tell people he was a paedophile.
The man called police, who took over his phone and continued to text the blackmailer, who prosecutors allege was 18-year-old Mr Wilson.
Posing as the alleged victim, the police asked: “How can I make this go away?”
“It won’t be going away for a long time unless I get a fare [sic] share of money,” Mr Wilson is alleged to have replied.
“I know your name, address, ur car details, and videos of you grooming children.”
ACT Policing Detective Inspector Matthew Reynolds said an online investigation identified the pair on Saturday.
Police arrested Mr Wilson in Narrabundah after they located his phone signal. The younger suspect was arrested at Hawker, and both were charged them with armed robbery and blackmail.
In the ACT Children’s Court this morning, Magistrate Robert Cook said Mr Wilson’s sophisticated approach and the way the victim had been lured were of concern.
Magistrate Cook refused Mr Wilson bail, saying there was a risk he might interfere with witnesses or evidence.
Mr Wilson was remanded in custody until December 7, though he indicated he might re-apply for bail.
The 16-year-old was released on bail on strict conditions. His lawyer James Maher told the court he had been led on by an older person, who had driven the offence.
‘Be careful’: Police warn of rendezvous risks
Inspector Reynolds said police had growing concerns about the use of “catfishing” — adopting fake online personas — to lure victims.
“We’re asking people to be careful when they organise to meet people online,” he said.
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Inspector Reynolds said police did not often investigate blackmail attempts but suggested Canberrans take precautions when arranging to meet people they did not know.
“We ask people to ensure their own safety,” he said.
“It comes down to individual people taking care of their own safety.”