Columbus Police are warning members of Ohio’s gay community to beware of a fugitive on the run who is believed to be targeting gay men.

Police say Byrol Pierce has been running from the law for more than a year. Pierce escaped from a work release program in June 2004 after he was charged with the attempted murder of a gay man and with stealing his identity and credit cards.

More recently, Pierce is believed to have assumed the identity of a Columbus man.

Detectives say Pierce is targeting gay men in particular, connecting with them through Internet dating websites.

“He’s going around befriending people and stealing their identity and then uses that to open checking accounts, obtain identification and then commit fraud with other people’s writing bad checks,” Columbus Detective Jimmy Day explained.

The major concern police have is that they believe Pierce was willing to kill someone once before, and he is still roaming the streets of Columbus targeting unsuspecting victims.

“He’s wanted for attempted murder. That shows that if the conditions are right, he could possibly commit a crime of violence against another person,” Day said. Police said it is a fair possibility there are more than just two victims. Columbus Police are asking anyone with information about Pierce or the crimes he may have committed to contact authorities immediately.

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