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Man arrested by Escondido Police on sexual assault charges

Escondido Police said that Bartee catfished men he met on the dating app Grindr and then forcibly restrained and sexually assaulted them.

ESCONDIDO, Calif. — Escondido Police Department said they have arrested a man who sexually assaulted multiple men that he met on the app Grindr.  

Tobias Bartee, 28, chatted with four adult men on separate occasions using the dating app Grindr and invited them to an apartment over the past four months, according to Escondido police. 

Since the arrest, a potential fifth victim has come forward, Escondido police officials said.

The victims told police Bartee used a fake name and posed as a white male on the app. When they arrived at the apartment, police said Bartee answered the door and claimed the fictitious roommate was not home. 

The victims were lured into the apartment, forcibly restrained, and sexually assaulted. Two of the victims claim he had a handgun, according to police. 

Police said that Bartee was using photographs of other people as himself, a practice known as catfishing. 

On September 15th, Escondido Police Department detectives and members of the SWAT team served a search warrant and arrested Bartee at his residence. 

Bartee is facing the following charges: kidnap with intent to commit rape, sodomy by force, oral copulation by force, assault with intent to commit rape, and assault with a deadly weapon and strangulation. 

If you think you were a victim or if you know someone who may be a victim, the Escondido Police Department encourages you to reach out to detectives at (760) 839-4768.

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