A man claiming to be an undercover police officer has been jailed after extorting $2,000 from a Grindr user in Shellharbour, the Illawarra Mercury reports.
Jayson Hastie, a 25 year old from Albion Park, has been ordered to serve 20 months in jail with a nine month non-parole period.
Hastie called himself ‘Alex’ and used a fake profile on the app to attract the attention of his victim, an unidentified older man. The pair chatted for two weeks before they met, exchanging sexually explicit messages and phone calls.
After the victim was stood up by Hastie on 21 March they rescheduled their meet-up for two days later at Bass Point, where his victim was greeted by a friend of Hastie’s, before ‘Alex’ got in the back of the victim’s car and introduced himself.
It was then Hastie claimed to be a police officer, saying, “You’ve been pinged.”
Further information about the ruse was not included in court papers.
“You don’t have to say anything, but whatever you do say can be used as evidence in court,” Hastie told his victim, before demanding $2,000 and weekly financial “help” in exchange for not handing photos and transcripts of their chats to the real police.
The terrified victim acquiesced and drove to Stockland Shellharbour to withdraw the cash. After the victim had paid him Hastie and his friend searched the man’s car, then left.
“If you ever do this again, I’ll break both your legs,” was Hastie’s parting shot.
Jayson Hastie plead guilty to charges of demanding money with menace and impersonating a police officer, in exchange for a kidnapping charge being dropped by prosecutors. Following the sentencing he has lodged a severity appeal, to be heard at a later date.
Wollongong Local Court Magistrate Peter Thompson noted the crime involved “a significant degree of planning”, but felt Hastie had good prospects of rehabilitation.
Back in August Timothy Ruge, a Melbourne man, plead guilty to extorting $1,300 from a closeted man he met on Grindr after allegedly threatening to expose the man to his fiancée.