Police continue to investigate case of women being allegedly drugged at bars

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Police addressed the difficulties of investigating cases of drink tampering after two women recently claimed they were drugged at the Epicentre in uptown Charlotte.

"Immediately seeking medical attention so we can capture blood, urine any type of physical evidence. So if it does lead us to someone and to identify someone, who has tampered with a drink, we can go full force with the district attorney's office and charge them appropriately," Lt. Bret Balamucki with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said at a news conference Friday.

The most recent woman to come forward told police she believes she was drugged at the popular spot on East Trade Street June 8. She reported it June 13.

The 23-year-old woman reported to CMPD she had been drinking with friends at Suite at the Epicentre when she blacked out and became ill. She said her friends called an ambulance, which took her and a friend to the hospital. The report says the victim was hospitalized with minor injuries.

The chief risk officer for Suite told Channel 9 Thursday night that he's aware of the allegations.

He also said he worked with the girl's mother to file a police report and got CMPD to investigate immediately.

“It’s of paramount importance that everyone knows this is happening because awareness is protection,” Leah McGuirk said.

Channel 9 recently reported on Leah McGuirk, who said someone spiked her drink at Rooftop 210 in the Epicentre. That incident reportedly happened on May 12 and she filed a police report two weeks later.

After our report May 31, CMPD said it did not handle that case correctly. Police said McGuirk was told to return to the area where it happened and call 911, which officials said is not the proper protocol.

“It is concerning, and it is going to be an ongoing issue until we have laws to protect our citizens,” McGuirk said.

An amendment sponsored by Representative Chaz Beasley, of Mecklenburg County, changes the definition of mental incapacitation, adding language that includes drinks being drugged.

It passed the Senate Thursday and now heads to Governor Cooper's desk.

“It gives law enforcement and a powerful tool and more direct tool to protect victims and get justice for victims, who have had their drinks drugged.”

Beasley said he plans to introduce more bills in the future to address these issues.

“There is a bipartisan appetite, a significant bipartisan appetite, to do more for victims,” he said.

As for the local investigations, CMPD said Suite is cooperating. McGuirk also told Channel 9 police are reviewing surveillance video from Rooftop 210 to see if they can identify any suspects in her incident.

Police are encouraging any other potential victims to contact them.

Statement from EpiCentre management:

"EpiCentre’s tenants are responsible for the management and operation of their respective business and security within their premises. CMPD is the lead agency and authority and EpiCentre fully cooperates with any investigation conducted."

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