NEW YORK - City officials are sounding the alarm about a string of incidents at gay bars in Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea where victims have reportedly been drugged and robbed, including at least two that were fatal.
Bar owners, as well as planners, are stressing safety while out, as news of the investigation begins to spread.
"Unfortunately, that's the kind of advice we have to be giving right now is please keep an eye on your drink, make sure nobody is putting anything in your drink at all times," said Jake Resnicow, CEO of Jake Resnicow Events.
City officials hosted a webinar on nightlife safety last month.
City officials took things a step further, hosting a webinar on nightlife safety last month.
Police are also warning New Yorkers to turn off Face ID on their phones before going out to bars in the city.
Authorities said the recent string of incidents also includes robberies, where the victim's cellphones were used to access, then drain their bank accounts.
There are two possibly linked cases where men died under suspicious circumstances.
John Umberger, 33, was at The Q NYC, a popular gay nightclub in Hell's Kitchen, last 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.
Umberger's phone and credit cards were stolen and more than $25,000 was drained from his bank account.
John Umberger, 33, was found dead after going to a gay club in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood.
His mother, Linda Clary, spoke out about his death.
Clary says her son was targeted because he was gay.
That is the same claim a friend of Julio Ramirez made last April.
Ramirez died in an eerily similar manner a month before Umberger.
Julio Ramirez was found dead in the back of a taxi after going to a gay nightclub in Manhattan.
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.
The Ritz Bar and Lounge in Hell's Kitchen.
Ramirez's phone and credit cards were gone and about $20,000 was missing from his accounts.
Clary said 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.