CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – A man was arrested last week after he was caught on surveillance video slipping something into a woman’s drink at a bar in Clay County, authorities said.
Robert Welch, 48, of Green Cove Springs, is charged with tampering with a consumer product.
The Boogerville Hideout Bar owners, who are outraged over this, told News4Jax their security camera recorded the incident in an outdoor patio area.
According to detectives, the woman knew Welch and was sharing a table with him. She told detectives she came back to the table after walking her dog and realized her bottle of beer was unusually extra foamy, according to an arrest report. Deputies said that upon closer inspection, she noticed a white tablet resting at the bottom of the bottle. According to the arrest report, she told deputies she recently blacked out on two occasions after drinking with Welch and woke up the next day with no recollection of what happened the night before.
Another woman who is a frequent customer has come forward with similar complaints, according to the arrest report.
As a result of the investigation, Clay County Detective Brandon Senters is advising all people to be careful at any bar they go to.
“Maintain physical control of your drink, situational awareness,” Senters said. “And if you suspect someone has tampered with your drink and somethings off with the color, taste or smell, don’t drink it. Contact management of the establishment and contact law enforcement.”
Senters said that if someone offers to buy you a drink and you accept, watch the bartender make the drink and then take the drink from the bartender.
“It’s often that if someone is trying to slip you a drink, it’s not necessarily some stranger. It could very well be someone you know or came there with,” Senters said. “Any occurrence is too often. I believe we’re fortunate in Clay County where this does not happen very often.”
Clay County investigators said that if anyone has experience blackouts and memory loss after drinking with Welsh, they should report it.
Medical expert explains health effects of consuming tainted drink
Dr. Elizabeth Ransom of Baptist Health said a tampered drink can pose a list of medical problems depending on what the drink was tampered with.
“It could be so significant that it suppresses respiration and someone finds themselves in real trouble and may not even wake up again,” Ransom said. “So there is a whole host of problems and issues associated with this.”
Ransom said early signs of illness before a person blacks out will depend on what was it the drink.
“Dizziness, lightheadedness, difficulty speaking or moving, then they need to talk to a friend and get help immediately,” Ransom said.
She also said how long it takes to blackout also depends on the drug used to taint the drink.
Ransom said that if you suspect you’ve consumed a tainted drink, it’s best to make an appointment with your doctor to undergo a medical evaluation and call law enforcement.