Feds accuse Miami-Dade man of kidnapping, robbing Grindr dates

A person uses a smartphone. (Pixabay)

MIAMI – A federal grand jury in Miami indicted a northwest Miami-Dade man this month after prosecutors accused him of kidnapping and robbing men he lured on the Grindr app.

According to a federal criminal complaint, Stevenson Charles is accused of robbing at least two men he met on the app, which is mainly used by gay and bisexual men.

In the complaint, an FBI special agent wrote that in the first robbery, on Oct. 23, the victim met Charles at his home in the 10400 block of Northwest 25th Avenue in the West Little River area.

The agent wrote that as the victim and Charles went to his bedroom, he noted that Charles was wearing an ankle monitor.

Shortly afterwards, Charles is accused of pulling a gun at the victim and demanded his cell phone. Officials said the victim complied.

“(I)n fear for his life, and in attempt to get out of the residence, (the victim) told Charles that he would drive him to a bank and withdraw money for him,” the complaint states.

In his 2021 red Honda, the victim then drove Charles to a Wells Fargo branch on Northwest 27th Avenue and withdrew $760, the complaint states.

Charles then told the victim to sit in the passenger’s seat and he drove the victim to an unspecified highway exit, where he ordered the victim to get out of the vehicle, according to officials.

Charles then took off in the Honda; the victim went to a nearby gas station and called police, investigators wrote.

The agent said Charles, who was on probation and being monitored by the Miami-Dade County Corrections Boot Camp program, took off his ankle monitor following the robbery.

The second robbery happened on Nov. 2, officials said.

In that instance, Charles arranged a meeting with the second victim at an apartment in the 200 block of Northwest 72nd Terrace, in Miami’s Little River neighborhood, prosecutors allege.

This time, the two didn’t even make it to the bedroom.

Prosecutors allege that as the victim pulled up in his 2022 Toyota, he saw Charles exit the apartment, then stopped his vehicle in front of him. Charles then entered the vehicle’s back seat and pointed a gun at the victim.

“Charles appeared to notice police cars that were nearby and ordered (him) to drive,” the complaint states.

The victim, who did not speak fluent English, told investigators that Charles used a cell phone translation app in order to communicate with him.

Charles then asked the victim where he lived and the two drove to his apartment, according to the complaint.

After the two parked in its parking garage, Charles then told the victim to come to the backseat, where he ordered him to “lay down in the backseat-trunk area,” officials wrote. He’s accused of pistol-whipping the victim.

Charles then ordered the victim to unlock his phone, and used the translation app to ask him to log into his bank accounts, according to prosecutors.

After the victim was unable to log in to his Bank of America account, Charles began looking through photos on the victim’s phone, officials said.

The agent wrote that after seeing photos of the victim with other men, Charles told him that he was “going to kill all of you” and then hit him with the gun.

Charles then drove the man to a Bank of America branch and ordered the victim to take money out of his account, which he tried and failed to do, prosecutors allege.

The agent wrote that Charles “got out of (the victim’s) vehicle with a ski mask covering his face and tried withdrawing money” with him, but was also unsuccessful. He then ordered the victim to get back into his vehicle.

As he went through the victim’s phone, Charles noticed the victim had an Apple card with an available balance, according to the complaint.

After Charles called someone asking how to get money off the Apple Card, the two drove to three different Walgreens stores, including two in Aventura, where Charles purchased $1,000 worth of gift cards, a Mountain Dew and an Aquafina water, the agent wrote.

At the second store, Charles told the victim he would “kill him” if he tried to leave, prosecutors allege.

But, according to the complaint, at the third store, the victim did just that.

While Charles took the car keys inside with him, he left the car on, the complaint states, allowing the victim to jump into the driver’s seat and escape.

The agent wrote that surveillance video and fingerprints on the Apple card tied Charles to the crime.

According to federal court records, Charles faces 17 charges, including carjacking, kidnapping and bank robbery.

Read the full criminal complaint:

About the Author:

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.