Man sentenced for role in bizarre Grindr robbery
A KINGSCLIFF man has been sentenced for his role in covering up a Grindr date which police claim turned into a bizarre home invasion.
Thomas Alfred Grover, 29, appeared by videolink from Kempsey Correctional Centre to plead guilty to concealing a serious indictable offence in Tweed Heads Local Court on September 7.
Co-accused Stewart John Saunders and Jason Mark James have both been charged with robbery in company for the same incident. They continue to defend the charges.
According to police allegations contained in court documents, a 69-year-old man was contacted by a profile called 'Hungry' on the Grindr dating app while staying at his Casuarina unit between 8-9pm on February 12.
The pair agreed to meet up and the other user said it might take a while to get there as the roads were flooded.
It is alleged about 2.30am on February 13, the man went downstairs to open the door for the man, co-accused Mr James, and the two had consensual oral sex.
Police said the man went to have a shower while Mr James went to the balcony to make a phone call in hushed tones and then went downstairs to open the door for Mr Saunders.
It is alleged after a struggle, Mr Saunders hit the man on the head with a spanner and demanded money before taking his wallet, documents in a black folder, laptop, iPhone and keys.
Police allege the two men ran away as Mr Saunders yelled "you interfered with my brother Aaron".
After Mr James was arrested, police claim the victim's keys were found in a roof cavity in the main bedroom of his home.
Mr James allegedly denied knowledge of them and said his friend must have put them there.
Police claim security footage showed two men entering the side entrance of the victim's unit complex at Cotton Beach at 3.19am.
It is alleged the first man is Mr Saunders and the second was Grover.
A review of Mr James' phone allegedly showed he had texted Grover and Mr Saunders the victim's house number.
During a search of Grover's address, police say the alleged victim's wallet and black document folder were found in the bathroom.
Defence solicitor Ms Anderson said her client had been sentenced in May to imprisonment for other separate matters committed in January and would have been eligible for parole in August.
She said given the previous matter and this offence occurred within a month of each other it indicated a "pattern of criminality" as at the time "he was under the influence of methylamphetamine".
She said he had battled the drug addiction for years and had completed an addictions course while in custody.
Ms Anderson said he plans to live with his parents, help them with their health problems as well as work on his own issues and re-enter the workforce.
Magistrate Geoff Dunlevy accepted that Grover was not involved in the robbery itself but once he was aware of it, assisted in concealing the offence.
Mr Dunlevy said he took into account the man was on a Community Corrections Order and subject to parole at the time of the crime.
Grover was convicted and sentenced to eight months in jail to commence from August 13 with a non-parole period of one month.
He was released on parole on September 12.