Young men in Atlanta knocked out, kidnapped and robbed after visiting bars in popular neighborhood

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Chris, a 26-year-old Atlanta resident who asked that his past sanction not beryllium published retired of fearfulness of retaliation by nan group who harmed him, said he was robbed of astir $13,500 aft visiting Buckhead barroom The Ivy Buckhead successful November 2021. Chris, arsenic good arsenic different men who opportunity they were robbed, shared screenshots of slope accounts showing fraudulent transactions.

The past point Chris remembers earlier fading successful and retired of consciousness was opinionated astatine nan barroom unsocial to bargain a drink. He suspects thing mightiness person been slipped into his drink. As pinch Rebel, his only different representation consists of being slumped complete successful nan backmost spot of an chartless moving car that night, incapable to power his words aliases body.

“It’s a emotion I haven’t had for illustration immoderate different — it didn’t consciousness for illustration a drunk. I don’t cognize really other to opportunity it,” he said. “It felt for illustration I wasn’t afloat there.”

Chris said he tried to study nan incident astatine a constabulary position conscionable extracurricular of Atlanta — person to his location — successful nan days afterward, but was told he had to record nan study astatine a constabulary position successful nan city. He said that erstwhile he went to a constabulary precinct successful Buckhead, he waited 30 minutes to speak pinch an officer. But pinch nary updates connected really overmuch longer it would be, he gave up and left.

One of nan 8 men, 25-year-old Jace Curry, recalled being physically threatened.

Curry said he was robbed of astir $10,000 aft visiting Five Paces Inn past September. Two men he met astatine nan barroom that nighttime invited him to time off pinch them and be a late-night party, he said.

“About 5 steps retired of nan bar, they ended up putting what I felt for illustration was a weapon to my backmost and made maine spell to this ATM and propulsion them retired money,” Curry said, adding that he later discovered that his telephone and wallet were missing.

Jace Curry sits for a image connected stairwellJace Curry said he woke up nan time aft nan incident pinch a telephone that wasn't his.Kendrick Brinson for NBC News

Curry said he would ne'er person near a barroom pinch 2 strangers if it were not for really intoxicated he felt. “I’m besides a heavyweight, so, I mean, I don’t get drunk that easy and it felt for illustration I sewage drunk existent quick,” he said.

Curry reported nan brushwood to constabulary nan adjacent greeting and his lawsuit is still active, according to police.

All of nan men who said pinch NBC News described being successful awe of nan sophistication of nan crimes. Two of them said that successful nan mornings aft their encounters, they woke up pinch debit cards and phones that didn’t beryllium to them. They said it created disorder and delayed their expertise to extremity fraudulent transactions sooner.

“It felt ace organized,” Chris said. “The beingness of a decoy telephone signals to maine that location is readying going connected down nan scenes. There is simply a strategy successful play.”

Chris said nan Verizon shop connected him pinch nan personification whose telephone he was successful possession of, who turned retired to beryllium different man whose telephone was stolen aft visiting an Atlanta barroom connected an earlier date.

Of nan six men who said pinch NBC News, 4 of them reported their encounters to police. The 4 men said they shared a trove of records pinch officers, including receipts of in installments paper transactions, slope statements and individual accusation they obtained of their presumed assailants. That included telephone numbers, addresses wherever packages were shipped and nan names associated pinch third-party costs accounts that received nan fraudulent transactions.

They described nan constabulary arsenic brushing disconnected what they described arsenic volumes of grounds aliases accusation for leads.

“I virtually gave nan constabulary section each azygous portion of nan puzzle, and they could attraction less,” said Shawn Brown, who said he believes he was drugged and robbed of astir $12,000 aft visiting Johnny’s Hideaway successful March 2023.

Brown reported nan incident to constabulary 2 days aft and his lawsuit remains ongoing, according to police.

“We understand nan frustrations of immoderate victims, but we are actively investigating and moving to place anyone progressive successful these crimes,” said Chafee, who added that crimes for illustration this are challenging to analyse and important activity is often required to place suspects. “We impulse anyone who has been nan unfortunate of a crime to telephone constabulary and study it arsenic soon arsenic possible. Reporting crime quickly immunodeficiency successful nan investigation arsenic good arsenic successful identifying crime trends.”

The proprietor of Johnny’s Hideaway, Chris D’Auria, said successful an email that nan venue has nary grounds of Brown’s incident, “but surely do not for illustration to perceive that things of that quality person occurred.” D’Auria added that nan barroom has a constabulary serviceman connected tract connected its busiest nights, Wednesday done Saturday, on pinch hired information staff.

“No one, including guidance had been told aliases approached by anyone astir immoderate drugging/robbery,” he said.

Chafee said that constabulary person accrued patrols successful nan area, and he offered information tips, for illustration keeping valuables astatine location and not leaving drinks unattended.

Rebel said erstwhile he initially went to constabulary to study nan crime, nan serviceman assigned to return his study accused him of fabricating nan brushwood and warned him that lying to a constabulary serviceman is illegal.

Chandler Rebel poses for a portraitChandler Rebel said having his telephone stolen meant losing years of photos.Frank Thorp V / NBC News

“Here I americium asking for thief to get these monsters who did this to maine and person done this to different people, and they’re nan victim? That terrified maine aft that experience,” Rebel said. “These boys successful bluish are expected to protect maine and these ones wouldn’t moreover perceive me.”

The APD did not respond to questions astir Rebel’s alleged interactions pinch nan police.

Although nan men person not had their cases solved, nan mostly of them said they recovered most, if not all, of nan costs taken from their slope accounts and third-party costs apps aft reporting nan fraudulent transactions to their banks. Still, immoderate of them were not capable to retrieve their iCloud accounts from Apple and mislaid entree to years of photos and videos.

NBC News reached retired to Apple, which did not comment. The institution released a new information mode, Stolen Device Protection, successful January that is intended to thwart bad actors from learning aliases changing users’ passcodes.

While it is unclear precisely really nan alleged victims’ phones were accessed, those who said pinch NBC News wondered if thieves surreptitiously watched them participate their passcodes, utilized hacking package aliases utilized their unconscious faces to unlock their phones via Face ID technology.

Rebel said that losing each of his photographs from precocious schoolhouse and assemblage was devastating but has led him to admit life successful ways he didn’t earlier his encounter.

“I mislaid each image I ever took, but I still get nan opportunity to return pictures. I wasn’t for illustration those unfortunate gentlemen successful New York,” he said referring to men who were killed pinch illicit narcotics aft visiting New York City bars successful 2022. “The only pictures they person now are nan ones nether their obituaries.”