5 Teens Arrested in Robbery & Attack of Oregon Gay Man
Police have arrested five teenagers who allegedly attacked and robbed a 24-year-old gay man from the Portland suburb of Gresham, Ore., Portland station KGW reported.
A SWAT team arrested the teens after Adam Salnardi called 911 on Friday to report that he was attacked and robbed by five masked people with weapons. Police say that four males and one female brandished guns before physically assaulting Salnardi. The group also stole his wallet, cell phone and other items.
Salnardi told KOMO News that he thought he "was going to die" once he saw the guns and said the attackers may have been motivated by his sexual orientation.
"I only had $10 in my wallet. When I was on the ground, they called me a faggot and just calling me rude names," he said.
Police arrested Justin Simms, 19, three 16-year-old males and a 14-year-old female. The five teens face robbery, assault and intimidation charges, according to the police report.
KOMO also reported that Salnardi was under the impression he was meeting a man to have sex. Salnardi arranged the hookup date after talking to the stranger online and planned to meet him in a local park.
"Next thing I know, I’m getting socked from behind," he told KOMO News. "First, I see these guys standing behind these trees. They start punching me. I fall to the ground."
Investigators say the suspects lured Salnardi via a dating website "under the ruse he would be meeting a homeless man who needed help," KOMO News writes.
"We were just talking and he told me wanted to hang out, that he was homeless, I thought maybe I’d be able to help him and I just go there to meet him," Salnardi said.
Police say that the teens may have attacked another gay man in the same area by using the same ploy.
"Maybe they don’t want people knowing about it, maybe they feel ashamed, but I’m here to take a stand," Salnardi said.
It appears this isn’t the first time Salnardi has been the victim of a possible hate crime. Fox’s Portland Ore., affiliate KPTV reported in 2011 that he claimed a group of six men approached him and hurled anti-gay slurs towards him as he was pulling into his friend’s driveway.
"They were jumping on my car, kicking it, popped my tires," Salnardi told the station. "If they would have gotten to me, I could have been hurt."
His friend witnessed the alleged attack and ran outside to help Salnardi, who was still inside his vehicle. Salnardi said that repairs to his car were estimated at a few thousand dollars. "I just bought this car too, two months ago," he said. "Now look at it."
Gresham, Ore., is also the home of Sweet Cakes Bakery, which made national headlines this month after its owner Aaron Kline refused to sell a lesbian couple a wedding cake after he discovered it would be for their wedding.