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Whitehorse search related to investigation into victims targeted through dating apps, police say

An RCMP vehicle in the Riverdale neighbourhood of Whitehorse on Friday. Police were executing a search warrant at a residence, related to an investigation into online meeting safety. (Leslie Amminson/RCMP - image credit)
An RCMP vehicle in the Riverdale neighbourhood of Whitehorse on Friday. Police were executing a search warrant at a residence, related to an investigation into online meeting safety. (Leslie Amminson/RCMP - image credit)

A search warrant executed in Whitehorse's Riverdale neighbourhood last week was related to an investigation into people being targeted through Tinder and other social media platforms, police say.

On Friday morning, several RCMP vehicles, officers and a police dog were seen in Riverdale and local residents were advised of an increased police presence. Police said later they were executing a search warrant at a local residence but gave no other details.

The incident ended within a couple of hours and police said nobody was injured.

RCMP said in a news release on Monday that the search was related to online meeting safety, and referred to another news release issued on Jan. 11. In that release, police said they were investigating "multiple files" involving victims targeted through online platforms such as Tinder, Instagram and Facebook.

"Current files under investigation include allegations of theft, threats against the victims and their families, and the use of violence, occurring after victims have met in person with people they connected with through dating apps or online marketplaces," reads the Jan. 11 release.

Speaking to CBC News last week, before Friday's search in Riverdale, RCMP Chief Supt. Scott Sheppard spoke generally about the ongoing investigation that prompted the earlier news release.

"We've been seeing some cases where unwitting victims are being lured into certain situations and then, you know, the outcomes aren't exactly what they've been expecting," Sheppard said.

"In this particular case, we're talking about male victims, you know, being subject to threats and violence and intimidation. So there's still a lot more work to do on that."

RCMP said Monday the criminal investigation is ongoing and "there is a need to preserve the integrity of that investigation."

They also said that Friday's activity in Riverdale posed no risk to the public or schools in the area, and that schools and daycares were given notice of the planned activity.