Chicago church deacon robbed Grindr hook-up at gunpoint, prosecutors say

Chicago — Prosecutors say a Chicago man robbed another man at gunpoint during a Grindr hook-up and drove away with a car belonging to the victim’s roommate. Erick Collins, whose defense attorney said he is a 28-year-old church deacon, was held in lieu of a $7,500 bail payment by Judge Kelly McCarthy during a court hearing on Tuesday afternoon.

Collins asked the future victim to “help him out” and “be generous” during a chat on the LGBTQ-focused dating app, so the victim offered to pay Collins $40 if they had sex, prosecutors said. Doorbell video allegedly showed Collins arriving at the victim’s Englewood apartment a short time later, around 11:30 a.m. on March 1.

Erick Collins | Chicago Police Department; Grindr

But the victim grew uneasy when Collins started looking around the house as if he were assessing the victim’s property, so the victim asked him to leave, prosecutors said.

Collins allegedly demanded the $40, but the victim declined, saying that the agreement was to make the payment only after they had sex. Officials said the victim relented and transferred $40 to Collins’ CashApp account, then asked him to leave. But Collins demanded more money.

As the victim backed away toward his two crated Huskies, Collins pointed a handgun at him and ordered him not to let the dogs out, prosecutors said. He then tossed part of a TV stand at the victim, who ducked and upended the dogs’ crates, sending the Huskies running after Collins.

Collins allegedly grabbed a set of car keys belonging to the victim’s roommate and ran from the home.

Prosecutors said Collins drove away with the roommate’s car, which had the victim’s wallet inside. Surveillance video allegedly showed Collins trying to use the victim’s credit cards at a gas station and a Walmart.

Police arrested Collins on Monday after the victim identified him in a photo lineup, prosecutors said. He is charged with robbery, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and misdemeanor fraudulent use of a debit or credit card.

Collins has three felony convictions: burglaries in 2013 and 2015 and possessing a stolen motor vehicle in 2017.

Assistant Public Defender Catherine Stockslager said Collins regularly attends church and serves as a deacon. He’s also studying cosmetology and works in a hair salon and a clothing store, Stockslager said.

His next court date is scheduled for March 29.

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