Police say robbery, rape suspect used app to target men

Kent Assistant Police Chief Pat Lowery said apps like this one, which is similar to the one accused robber Leverne Maxwell is accused of using to lure victims, are dangerous and those who use them should be cautious. (Photo: KIRO Radio) | Zoom
A man suspected of using a phone application to find his victims has been charged with multiple felonies, including robbery and rape.

Leverne Maxwell, 32, was ordered held on $500,000 bail for one count of rape in the first degree, three counts of robbery in the first degree and two counts unlawful possession of a firearm.

According to court documents, Maxwell targeted men who used a smart phone app to find other members of the gay community. The app uses GPS to help users locate one another and arrange a face-to-face meeting.

In one case, police said Maxwell used the name "Billy" and arranged to meet a user for sex at an apartment complex in Kent. When the victim declined to pay "Billy" for sex, he stole his cell phone at gunpoint, according to the documents.

Kent police eventually arrested Maxwell after a trace of the stolen cell phone led them to his location.

"I think that our suspect, in this case, was relying on the fact that perhaps victims would be fearful of coming forward for a variety of reasons and therefore, he could get away with this," said Kent Assistant Police Chief Pat Lowery.

While several victims in Kent and Seattle have come forward, Lowery said police believe there are more victims out there. They are asked to contact Kent Police Detective Sgt. John Pagel at 253-856-5910.

Brandi Kruse, KIRO Radio Reporter
Brandi Kruse is a reporter for KIRO Radio who is as spontaneous and adventurous in her free time as she is on the job. Brandi arrived at KIRO Radio in March 2011 and has already collected three regional Edward R. Murrow awards for her reporting.
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