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Escondido police: Sexual assault suspect lured victims to apartment via Grindr

Tobias Bartee Grindr sexual assault
Posted at 2:22 PM, Sep 16, 2023

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) — The Escondido Police Department says it arrested a suspect who sexually assaulted multiple men after he met them on the Grindr dating app before luring them to an apartment.

According to EPD, four victims over the last four months reported sexual assaults of this nature to officers. The men had chatted with the suspect on the Grindr app, which is designed specifically for the LGBTQ community, and agreed to meet.

Each victim told police the suspect gave them a fake name and posed as a white man on the app. When they went to the apartment to meet up, the suspect, a 28-year-old Black man named Tobias Bartee, answered the door and told the victims the fictitious white roommate was not home, EPD's press release states.

Bartee would then forcibly restrain the victims and sexually assault them, and two of the victims said the suspect had a handgun at one point, police say.

On Friday, Sept. 15, EPD detectives and members of the SWAT team served a search warrant and arrested Bartee at his home.

He was arrested on the following charges:

  • Kidnap with intent to commit Rape
  • Sodomy by Force
  • Oral Copulation by Force
  • Assault with intent to commit Rape
  • Assault with a deadly weapon: Strangulation

Police say Bartee used other people's pictures on the app and portrayed them as himself, a practice known as catfishing.
If you believe you were also a victim in this case, EPD is encouraging you to reach out to the detective on the case at 760-839-4768.