Gay men targeted in drugging and robbery attacks, 2 deaths possibly linked
NEW YORK - There is concern that gay men are being targeted for robbery and assaults in Manhattan by an organized gang.
The so-called 'roofie robbers' are allegedly targeting the men in Manhattan hot-spots and drugging their victims. The NYPD has formed a task force to investigate at least a dozen cases.
There are two possibly linked cases where men died under suspicious circumstances.
John Umberger was found dead after going to a gay club in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood.
33-year-old John Umberger was at The Q NYC, a popular gay nightclub in Hell's Kitchen, on Memorial Day weekend. He was last seen leaving with two men. Two days later his body was found in an apartment on the Upper East Side.
His phone and credit cards were stolen and more than $25,000 was drained from his bank account.
His mother is speaking out about his death.
Linda Clary says her son was targeted in a NYC nightclub because he is gay.
"It's the worst thing ever," his mother Linda Clary says. "John, not only was my firstborn, he was my confidant. He was an advisor. He was an encourager."
Clary says her son was targeted because he was gay.
Julio Ramirez was found dead in the back of a taxi after going to a gay nightclub in Manhattan.
That is the same claim a friend of Julio Ramirez made in April.
He died in an eerily similar manner a month before Umberger.
The Ritz Bar and Lounge in Hell's Kitchen.
He was found dead in the back of a taxi an hour after he was seen leaving The Ritz, a gay club two blocks from The Q NYC.
His phone and credit cards were gone and about $20,000 was missing from his accounts.
"Every last person has been gay," Clary says. "And they're focused on gay bars and the singling out factor is they all find themselves isolated."
She says that since she has gone public about her son's death several parents have reached out to her to say their own son had a similar experience but lived.
Preliminary toxicology reports showed Umberger and Ramirez died of drug overdoses, but New York City Police are looking into the possibility that their drinks were spiked with date-rape drugs, sources told The Post. The medical examiner's office has not issued a final cause of death in the cases.