A judge ordered a man to pay $5,420 to a man whom he met on Grindr for stealing his Jeep, using his credit cards, and taking stuff from the car before it was recovered.
Additionally, Christopher Frank DiSalvo Jr., 31, was sentenced to seven years in state prison for the unrelated carjacking of a 77-year-old woman in Santee.
DiSalvo pleaded guilty to carjacking an elder and three auto theft charges were dismissed with the understanding he would have to pay for the losses of those victims.
A man reported to San Diego Police that a man he met on Grindr and who spent the night with him had vanished with his Jeep, military ID, credit cards, and other items on April 14, 2020.
Police used the photos of DiSalvo on Grindr which also showed his tattoos as a good description of the thief, who used the name Austin on Grindr. A Carlsbad police officer recovered the stolen Jeep, according to testimony in the preliminary hearing.
El Cajon Superior Court Judge Daniel Lamborn ordered the restitution plus $1,843 to another man who also lost a Jeep to DiSalvo at a motel.
“It became a bad habit of stealing cars,” said DiSalvo in an interview with the probation department which prepared a sentencing report.
“It wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t screwing up on drugs,” said DiSalvo in the report. “I have a major drug problem.”
“I am appalled it came to this. I have been struggling with addiction since I was 11 years old and it came to a head,” said DiSalvo.
“There is no violence in my past. I have never been violent,” said DiSalvo. “I am very sorry.”
DiSalvo said he felt “really disgusted” at himself for carjacking the elderly woman. He said he recalled taking a tranquilizer while waiting for an Uber and did not remember grabbing the woman out of her car and driving off with her purse.
DiSalvo crashed the woman’s car into a tree in La Mesa in the 4600 block of Palm Drive. He fled into an apartment complex, where he was arrested June 19.
Because he told sheriff’s deputies, he had taken drugs, deputies administered a dose of Naloxone, a lifesaving nasal spray that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. He was sent to a hospital before going to jail.
Lamborn also gave a 3-year concurrent sentence for DiSalvo’s guilty to felony assault of a 55-year-old inmate in jail in which another inmate played a greater role. He was given credit for serving 263 days in jail.