Man was robbed of more than wallet

Steve
Steve Bartlett
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“Ping!”

George Street at night. — Telegram file photo

It’s late November and the distinctive, loud push notification coming from his phone wakes Robert.

It pinged because someone had used his credit card. At 1:50 a.m.

Simultaneously, the 60-something grandfather felt an intense, throbbing pain.

He touched the back of his head and felt blood. He’d been clobbered, it seemed. And hard.

He also realized he was in a bed at his sister-in-law’s house.

Robert (not his real name) was in agony, feeling pain and confusion and the urge to roll himself into a ball.

Who was using his card?

What happened to the back of his noggin?

How’d he get to his sister-in-law’s?

Robert still doesn’t have any real answers. Just more questions.

He sits on a barstool at Starbucks and scans the room as he tells his story. He doesn’t seem nervous, just wary. Not knowing will do that to you.

The night in question started off pretty normal.

Robert drank some beer at his sister-in-law’s before heading to George Street to watch his nephew’s band. He had a couple more beer there and remembers walking out of the bar alone around 12:30 a.m.

And that’s where his memory ends.

The next 100 minutes or so are missing.

Was he attacked? By whom?

Had he been drugged?

Who stole his wallet?

And, again, who brought him to his sister-in-law’s?

Robert says his wallet contained credit cards, $700 or so in gift certificates and some blank cheques.

About $240 was put on his credit card and a cheque was written for $2,500.

He thought the CCTV cameras on George Street would have some answers about what happened.

But police told him there is no sign of him leaving the bar or even being on George Street that night.

Robert has counted 21 cameras in that area and wonders how there could be no trace.

An extensive review of the footage was done, a Royal Newfoundland Constabulary spokesman told me, and there is no sign of him.

The officer offered a couple of possible reasons why — Robert might have been just shy of a camera angle, travelling with a crowd, or his recall of the exact time could be off.

The spokesman said two people have since been charged with using Robert’s credit card as well as fraud and failure to comply with conditions. There is no evidence they were involved in an assault. (Robert said late Friday he didn’t know charges had been laid.)

Robert’s wounds have healed and the bank refunded the $2,500 from the cheque.

No one can refund his biggest loss, though.

“My sense of security is gone,” he says.

And that’s a maddening part of his story — the theft of personal security.

It seems too much of that is being stolen these days.

Be careful downtown, Robert urges.

People shouldn’t have to be so vigilant, but they do.

A night out should be carefree and fun.

It shouldn’t result in a rip-off, a head injury and months of wondering.

 

Steve Bartlett is the managing editor of The Telegram. Reach him via email at sbartlett@thetelegram.com.

Organizations: Starbucks, The Telegram

Geographic location: George Street

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Recent comments

  • Majority public
    March 08, 2016 - 14:14

    If Roberts attacker is apprehended it will be fun to watch the court proceedings. His lawyer (using our money) will present him as remorseful and committed to reform. HELLO!!. I guess a shirt and tie is a symbol of reform.

  • Ex Pat in BC
    March 08, 2016 - 11:56

    We moved out of St. John's 16 years ago. I'm sad to say I feel saver in downtown Vancouver than I did last year when we were home. The atmosphere has changed. You can smell the nasty in the air. It was not the Province I left. I am glad in many ways that we took our family and left. St. John's scares the hell out of me now.

  • Stephen  Redgrave
    Stephen Redgrave
    March 06, 2016 - 13:01

    Reading about what happened to "Robert" makes me nothing but angry. This type of out right mugging doesn't happen in the big cities as much as one may think. One of the reasons being--the muggers don't know if their intended victim is armed or not. The muggers usually stick with people they know are not packing a Glock for good luck. Any party scenario is dangerous in St John's , and having a friend with you at all times (preferably a large one) is a good policy for girls and men alike. I hope the judicial system shows as much mercy on the perp's as they showed Robert.