Officials in New York City are
investigating the murders of three gay men which occurred within a
two-week time span.
Fifty-three-year-old David Rangle was
found stuffed under a couch in his Jackson Heights apartment on
Less than a week earlier, Charles Romo,
48, was murdered in his Hamilton Heights, Harlem apartment. Police
said they believe Romo allowed two men into his home. He was found
tied up and beaten in his underwear.
The latest victim, Joseph Benzinger,
54, was found dead on February 9 inside a hotel room at the Crown
Motor Inn, which rents rooms by four-hour blocks.
All of the men were in their 40's or
50's and strangled to death. Police believe all the victims met
their attackers online, CBS
New York reported.
New York Deputy Commissioner Paul
Browne told reporters on Tuesday that “It appears that the cases
are not related with different suspects involved.”
“There are people who have been known
to go online and prey on LGBT people because they think we're a
vulnerable community,” said City Council Member Daniel Dromm.
Officials urged the community to take
extra precautions when dating online.
“Let people know, 'I'm going to be
hooking up online tonight,” said Ejeris Dixon, deputy director of
the Anti-Violence Project. “[Ask them] can you call me in a couple
of hours?' And it's that simple.”
Dixon also stressed it was important to
meet in a public place.