Man charged with startling murders at New York gay bars

A picture of Jacob Barroso

A suspect has been arrested in connection with a series of murders following visits to New York City gay bars in 2022.

Jacob Barroso, 30, was charged with, among other things, the murder linked to the deaths of 25-year-old social worker Julio Ramirez and 33-year-old political adviser John Umberger.

The two victims were each forced to leave New York gay clubs where Barroso allegedly drugged, robbed and killed them along with suspects Jayqwan Hamilton and Robert Demalo.

Barroso turned himself in to police on Sunday (April 2), but both Hamilton and Demalo are said to have evaded arrest at the time of reporting.

Jayqwan Hamilton and Robert Demaio evaded arrest at the time of reporting. (NYPD Crime Fighter)

Both Ramirez and Umberger were found dead on separate nights in early 2022 after their bank accounts were drained through facial recognition on their phones, according to family members.

Umberger’s body was reportedly found on May 28, 2022 on the fifth floor of an Upper East Side townhouse at his place of work.

His phone and credit card were missing, and it was later revealed that over $25,000 had been withdrawn from his bank account.

Ramirez’s body was found in a similar condition in the back of a taxi cab weeks earlier in the early hours of April 21, 2022.

His account had been drained of nearly $20,000 through payment apps like PayPal and Venmo.

Months later, coroners ruled the deaths as homicides based on the number of drugs found in their systems at the time.

According to New York law enforcement sources reported by NBC News, a Manhattan grand jury has indicted several suspects in connection with the deaths.

One of them, Shane Hoskins, was charged with identity theft and grand larceny on Friday (March 31).

Other suspects linked to the crime have allegedly targeted victims for financial gain, but law enforcement officials have claimed they are not specifically dealing with LGBTQ+ people.

According to an indictment associated with the case, the victims were “incapacitated to the extent that their ability to perceive events was reduced.”

The suspects would then steal valuables, credit cards and cell phones, and use detection software to empty their bank accounts.

Grindr crimes in London

Such crimes are particularly prevalent on dating apps like Grindr, as many users of the app remain anonymous for fear of being outed.

In a recent high-profile case in London, two thieves were drug thieves and robbers they met through Grindr.

The Metropolitan Police reported that several men were victims of drug burglaries in London between December 31, 2022 and January 9, 2023. Two suspects, who are believed to have fled the country, asked men they met through the app to meet them, where they would do drugs and rob them.

While victims did not experience any lasting effects from the drugs, in other cases of similar crimes, victims were assaulted, pinned down with knife points, or worse.

Officials urged users to remain vigilant on the app to ensure they are safe when meeting people for the first time.

They recommended precautions like reverse searching for a profile picture or notifying a friend about a planned meetup.

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Adam Bradshaw

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