Woman's Tinder Date Steals Her $1K Shoes and Vanishes — the Internet Helps Her Track Him Down

Manhattan singles, protect your hearts and your shoes. This captivating NYC Tinder horror story involves a man now known as the "Tabi Swiper."

Bianca Piazza - Author

Sep. 5 2023, Published 6:30 p.m. ET

Side-by-side screenshots from TikTok user @nextlevellexuss's videos
Source: TikTok/@nextlevellexuss

When it comes to dating in NYC, not much has changed since Carrie Bradshaw deemed the city that never sleeps her boyfriend, sick and tired of the roller coaster ride that is dating Manhattan men. Sure, the Sex and the City protagonist's long list of sexcapades, love affairs, and heartbreaks occurred during a time devoid of social media and dating apps (let's disregard Max's reboot series And Just Like That...), but it's still rough out there in 2023. In fact, it may be worse.

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A particularly comical, SATC-coded dating nightmare plagued a fashion-forward Manhattan-based woman in September 2023, and she documented her distressing tale on TikTok. It involves a handsome, stylish Tinder fellow, drinks, a casual hookup, and Maison Margiela Tabis. Said man has been nicknamed the "Tabi Swiper." Hold onto your priciest pair of shoes, and let's get into it.

Side-by-side screenshots from Instagram user @nextlevellexuss's posts
Source: Instagram/@nextlevellexuss
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Who is the NYC Tabi Swiper? Inside the viral shoe thievery scandal.

The mysterious "Tabi Swiper" did just that: He swiped his date's $990 Maison Margiela Mary Jane Tabis. Carrie Bradshaw is also a shoe-napping victim — her precious Manolo Blahniks, twice — but the culprits weren't ever her suitors.

TikTok user, city dweller, and knitwear crafter @nextlevellexuss began her viral video with a PSA: "Ladies of NYC, [beware]: This man is out here on Tinder and Hinge and he will steal from you." Lex goes on to relay that this man — whose Tinder profile is plastered as the background of the video — didn't just steal any pair of Mary Jane Tabis; he stole a sentimental birthday gift from her father.

It all began with a look. The then-strangers passed each other on the streets of Soho, locking eyes, as two attractive singles do. Later that evening, Lex was surprised to receive a Tinder message from a 23-year-old man named Joshua — the cute guy she'd made goo-goo eyes at hours prior. One thing led to another and Lex and Joshua were heading out for drinks and flirty conversation.

"He seems like a nice guy and like someone I would probably just hang out with for, like, a little fling and just, like, sleep with," she explains. Keeping it casual.

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For Date No. 2, Lex invited Joshua to her apartment, where the two chatted about their mutual love for fashion. Joshua told Lex about how badly he wanted a pair of the polarizing split-toe shoes — specifically the Tabi Ankle Boots. Naturally, Lex pointed to her own shoe collection, which includes two pairs of Tabis (boots and Mary Janes).

Source: TikTok/@nextlevellexuss
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Cut to the morning after, Lex couldn't wait to send Joshua on his way. But before he embarked on his "walk of shame," so to speak, Joshua insisted on introducing Lex to a killer Spotify playlist. Conveniently, Joshua didn't have the music service app on his phone, prompting Lex to hand over her unlocked phone. After some fumbling, he admitted defeat and returned Lex's phone, as he "couldn't find" the playlist.

"Hours pass, I'm on my computer, I look over to my shoe rack," she explains, pointing to the tower in the corner of the room. "He barely glanced at the Mary Janes, OK? I look over there, and they're gone."

Lex didn't want to jump to conclusions or "be accusatory," so she tore her apartment apart looking for the luxury footwear before attempting to contact Joshua.

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Lex's strategic mission to retrieve her Tabis involved a hefty team of internet detectives.

"I go to Tinder to message him — unmatched, gone! I'm like, 'Oh no, this b---- stole my f------ shoes,'" she explains. Not only did he remove Lex from his list of Tinder matches, but she believes Joshua deleted his own contact from her phone.

Lex didn't take her somber tale of stolen Tabis to TikTok to expose or "cancel" this shady dude; she needed help, and she knew the internet sleuths would have her back.

Source: TikTok/@nextlevellexuss
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As of this writing, her story-time video has been played nearly a million times — and that's just on TikTok. The saga also made its way to Twitter, spawning memes and jokes about NYC dating and men in the fashion space. One TikTok user commented on Lex's video, declaring that "fashion guys are sinister."

In the end, Lex's plan worked, as online detectives helped her track down Joshua's (if that's even his real name) Instagram account. But knowing Lex was on his tail, Joshua made his page private. Sigh. Still determined to get back her swiped Tabis, Lex reached out to several people, including Joshua's sister.

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"He finally calls me two hours later, after he privated his account, and starts to gaslight me and tell me that he didn't steal them and he doesn't know how it happened," Lex says in an update TikTok. "He's like 'That's just out of my character, I would never do that.'"

In an objectively strange move, Joshua offered Lex money for new Tabis, all while maintaining that he didn't snatch her original ones. Hmm.

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"The plot thickens. I find out he has a girlfriend and he gave my Tabis to his girlfriend," Lex continues.

After she sent Joshua a screenshot of his supposed boo wearing her Tabis in a mirror selfie, Lex received the text she'd been waiting for: "Ight, you got me, I'll get them back to you. Give me a time and place." The bizarre text also requested that Lex take down her TikTok. As of this writing, all of Lex's Tabi-centered videos remain on her TikTok account. Good for her!

Source: Instagram/@isaaclikes_

Just like Carrie and her silver Manolos in SATC Season 6, Episode 9, "A Woman's Right to Shoes," Lex got her Mary Jane Tabis back. The Tabi Swiper "thought [he] could get away with it" and clearly underestimated the strength, tenacity, and resourcefulness of a shoe-obsessed woman.

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