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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Anthony France

Predator jailed for drugging then burgling men he ‘catfished’ on dating app Grindr

A predator who drugged men he met on the gay dating app Grindr and burgled their homes has been jailed for 11 years.

Brandon Conrado-Gamboa targeted four victims in Brentford, Hampton, Hounslow and the Bromley areas of London stealing items such as phones, laptops, a car and clothing.

The Colombian national, 30, and accomplice Nelson Alexander Escobar Porras used fake profiles to lure victims and administer the sleeping drug zolpidem in glasses of Prosecco between December 2022 and January last year.

Airline flight records showed how Gamboa and Porras meticulously planned their crimes and flew to England one day before their spree.

Detectives harvested CCTV footage, phone data and conducted rapid urine tests from the four males, as well as screenshots of conversations, which were crucial in the case.

Conrado-Gamboa was arrested at Gatwick Airport on February 23.

On Friday, he was sentenced for conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary.

Porras is still wanted and is believed to be in Barcelona, Spain.

The Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service are working with Spanish authorities to extradite him back to the UK.

Prosecco and sleeping pills (Metropolitan Police)

Detective Chief Inspector Dan O’Sullivan said of the victims: “Some have been really affected by it. One has ended up losing their job due to mental health issues. Breakdown, can’t sleep, insomnia.

“When you think about what’s happened there: somebody’s woken up eight hours later and are in a total state of shock and gone to hospital. It’s life changing.”

Conrado-Gamboa’s sentencing comes as the Met launches a crackdown on drink and drug spiking.

PC Sade Kujore-Taylor, who led the investigation said: “Both men maliciously preyed on victims using a dating app and exploited their trust.

“My team worked long hours in a bid to gather evidence against Gamboa, which left no doubt of guilt in the jury’s mind.”

DCI O’Sullivan added: “As the Met reform, we are doing more to protect and support LGBT+ victims, while tackling spiking and bringing callous offenders to justice.

“My team worked incredibly hard throughout this investigation, PC Sade Kujore-Taylor was rightly commended by the judge at sentencing for her diligence in such a complex investigation.

“We take all reports of spiking incredibly seriously and work closely with partners, such as Gallop, to build confidence with LGBT+ communities and encourage them to tell the police if they suspect they’ve been victim of crime.”

Karen Tyrell, chief executive of the charity Drinkaware, advised anyone going on a date with someone met online to tell a friend, housemate or family member, pour their own drink and keep it in sight but, crucially, trust your instincts.

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