VIDEO: What Is This Guy Doing to a Woman’s Drink at a South Philly Bar?
This is a developing story.
UPDATE 5/3/2017 10 p.m.:
Philly Mag has been contacted by a man who says he is the person in the video. We have confirmed that the identity he has provided appears to be the same person as seen on the recording.
He adamantly denies that he put anything into the woman’s drink, adding that he has never “roofied” anyone. He says that he was reaching behind himself to put his wallet into his pocket, and he denies that his hand ever went over the drink. “If you look at that video,” he told me, “my hand never went over that drink.”
He says that after Shelly removed the drink from the bar, people started calling him a rapist, so he yelled back and left.
We have provided his name and contact information to police, and he says that he already contacted SVU and that he is willing to take a lie detector test.
As for the photo that has been well-circulated on Facebook prior to our publication of this story, he says he has asked Facebook repeatedly to take it down.
Six weeks after the Philadelphia Police Department launched a still-ongoing investigation into allegations that more than 20 people were drugged at popular South Philadelphia bar The Dolphin, investigators are now also taking a look at a surveillance video from a different bar that’s about five blocks from The Dolphin.
On Friday night, a few groups of people were hanging out at Michael’s Place, a neighborhood watering hole at 12th and Mifflin streets. According to a witness, shortly after Friday night turned into Saturday morning, the man seen in this grainy photo gave some money to a young woman at the bar, suggesting that she play some songs on the jukebox.
The video, which Philly Mag shared with police with the permission of the bar’s owner, shows what happened just after she placed her drink down on the bar next to him and briefly walked away. We sent the original to community-access media nonprofit PhillyCam and asked them to zoom in on his behavior and slow the video down at the key moment. They also blurred out the faces of the bystanders.
While the bartender’s back is turned to the cash register, the man looks around and reaches around to his back side. He looks around some more, and then he moves his hand over the woman’s drink.
We don’t know what happened in that moment. The video is unclear. Maybe he was just looking around and then saw a fly on the young woman’s glass and brushed it off.
But that’s not what another woman at the bar thought was happening.
Shelly (she asked us not to use her last name) used to work at Michael’s Place as a bartender. She was having some drinks with a friend on the night in question when she happened to be looking at the man as he looked around and brought his hand over the woman’s drink.
In the surveillance video from Michael’s, you can see Shelly walk into the frame and take the drink away and put it behind the bar.
Shelly alleges to Philly Mag that she saw the man “drop something into the drink.”
“I just happened to be looking and noticed her turn to use the jukebox,” she says. “Then I saw him go to her drink.”
After Shelly removed the drink, she says, the bartender, whom Philly Mag has been unable to reach, asked her why she was taking the drink, explaining that he had just made it. She says she explained what she saw, and the bartender told the man to leave.
“You’re accusing me of being a rapist?” Shelly says the man asked her. Then, she says, he started yelling “Fuck you!” repeatedly before leaving.
Philly Mag does not know the identity of the woman who ordered the drink, and according to Michael’s Place owner Michael Bordoni, she declined to have the bar call police and does not want to be involved in any investigation. The drink was dumped into the sink, and no one knows whether it was adulterated in any way.
Bordoni’s nephew later shared a still image of the man on Facebook, and it has been shared hundreds of times.
The Philadelphia Police Department’s Special Victims Unit is investigating. Anyone with information can call Lieutenant Harold Lloyd at 215-685-3260.
Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter