what there is to know

  • Two men, a social worker and a political consultant from Washington, DC, were found dead in separate incidents after leaving gay bars in Hell’s Kitchen in 2022, both having stolen thousands of dollars from their accounts.
  • They died of a combination of toxic drugs, according to their autopsies; in July, an acclaimed fashion designer was found dead in her Manhattan apartment from another combination of toxic narcotics; These three deaths may be linked to two ongoing patterns of overdose theft, according to law enforcement officials.
  • Six suspects have been charged in the first case; Law enforcement officials say crew behind 17 robberies and deaths of Julio Ramirez and John Umberger; the second would be responsible for 26, including the death of Kathryn Gallagher.

NEW YORK – New York police and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office continue to investigate what they believe to be two separate robbery patterns in which suspects use drugs to temporarily incapacitate or overwhelm more than 40 victims to steal money and property, and people have died in both investigations. say two law enforcement officials.

Six suspects have been charged, some with murder, some with theft, in connection with one of the patterns, known as Robbery Pattern 188, officials said Wednesday. This team is believed to be behind at least 17 robberies in Manhattan, mostly in the Village and Hell’s Kitchen, and is believed to be responsible for the murder of two men, Julio Ramírez and John Umberger, last seen leaving bars gays in this last district. . .

The leading theory is that the victims were targeted for money, not their sexual orientation, but the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force continues to investigate the potential bias factor as a precaution. , officials said.

Two police sources said at least four suspects have been arrested in connection with the robberies, but no arrests have been made so far in connection with the murders.

A second investigation, known as Robbery Pattern 90, reportedly involved a different team that robbed 26 people. There are multiple suspects in the case, which is before a Manhattan grand jury, law enforcement officials said. A spokesperson for the district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

An NYPD spokesperson declined to comment immediately, citing an ongoing investigation.

The two law enforcement officials said the murder of famed New York fashion designer Kathryn Marie Gallagher, which resulted from a drug-facilitated death, may be part of Pattern 90. The Medical Examiner’s Office said last week that Gallagher died of acute poisoning. combined effects. alcohol, fentanyl, ethanol and p-fluorofentanyl.

The 35-year-old internationally acclaimed designer, who had more than two dozen collections under her own label Katie Gallagher and appeared at New York and Paris Fashion Week, died in July 2022. She was working on a collection for the autumn 2022. when she was found dead in her flat in Eldridge Street.

The medical examiner’s office said in early March that Ramirez, a 25-year-old social worker, and Umberger, a 33-year-old consultant, died of lethal combinations of fentanyl, cocaine, lidocaine and ethanol found in their blood. New York police said it was lidocaine that ultimately incapacitated them.

Ramirez also had heroin in his blood, the medical examiner’s office found. He determined that both men died of drug-facilitated robbery, suggesting that they had been drugged for this purpose. Both had their bank accounts emptied.

Ramírez was found in a taxi in the early morning hours of April 21, 2022. He had last been seen leaving the Ritz Bar and Lounge on West 46th Street with a group of men and they all got into a taxi, although Ramírez was alone in the back seat of the cabin when the driver realized she was unconscious. The taxi driver found a policeman to report the unresponsive passenger and Ramírez was pronounced dead in a hospital. Neither his wallet nor his phone were on him.

Later, relatives say they discovered that their accounts were missing $20,000.

Umberger was found dead in late May of an apparent drug overdose at his employer’s Upper East Side townhouse where he was staying. Surveillance video showed him leaving the Q NYC club on Eighth Avenue, with several men supporting him. They also stole money from his bank account. More details on this timeline are unclear.

However, his mother alerted the police to his disappearance and Umberger was found on June 1. She said her phone and credit cards were missing, along with $25,000 from her bank account.

New York robbery teams linked to mystery drugs and deaths

Authorities said the deaths appear to be part of a string of people fatally poisoned by narcotics in what investigators say are conspiracies by criminal gangs to incapacitate and rob people in bars and nightclubs across New York City.

The killings, at least five in all, police say, date back months and appear to be the work of different teams, operating independently but using similar tactics, police and prosecutors said in an update to December.

The men surreptitiously slip revelers dangerous levels of drugs to knock them out, then take their wallets and phones, sometimes using their digital banking information to drain their accounts, authorities said. In a previous incident, Nurbu Sherpa, a 29-year-old chef, was found dead on the sidewalk after leaving a bar where he was celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

Other men have told how they were drugged by strangers and woke up to find they had no money.

Many crimes remain unsolved, but the Manhattan District Attorney previously announced that a suspect, Allen Kenwood of the Bronx, had been charged with murder in Sherpa’s death and in the murder of 26-year-old Ardijan Berisha.

Berisha, of South Salem, New York, and a friend passed out on the sidewalk in July 2022 after drinking at a bar on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Kenwood drugged his two victims with fentanyl, prosecutors said, then robbed them. He is charged in three other cases in which the victims survived. The status of his case was unclear on Wednesday.

Anyone with information on the theft patterns is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

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