Next time you log on to Tinder, you could find the love of your life--or you could catch a criminal on the lam.
BuildZoom, an online marketplace for home contractors based in San Francisco's SoMa district, has been the victim of several burglaries in the past month. Stolen company laptops led the startup's founder, David Petersen, to play vigilante, creating a Tinder profile using the alleged burglar's photo taken from footage captured by the security surveillance cameras.
"I was trying figure out how to get her face in front of all these people, and I thought that Tinder has a large user base in San Francisco," Petersen tells local S.F. blog The Bold Italic. "I almost want to send a message about petty crime, that if you break into office buildings you won't get away with it."
Petersen is offering a $5,000 reward to find the alleged burglar. Since the photos surfaced, four other startups in the area have come forward saying their offices have also been victims of similar burglaries in the past few weeks. Fast Company has linked this to the open floor design popular with startups, in which private locked offices are not as common.
However, Tinder makes clear that impersonating someone or creating a fake profile violates the app's terms of service, so Petersen's digital era "most wanted" sign won't last long.
"It's a clever use of our platform, but all accounts that violate our terms of service will be deleted," Tinder's VP of communications, Rosette Pambakian, tells Inc.
This is not the first time users have found "clever" unintended ways to use technology. It has even inspired a slew of mash-up mobile services. Using Foursquare to network at conferences has led to Reach; using Instagram to find an attractive date has led to Glimpse; and using Airbnb to find a quiet place to get some work done has led to Breather.