HEALDSBURG, Calif. - Police are investigating allegations at a North Bay establishment where several women claim to have been targeted by predators who drugged them at the popular bar.
Since October, Healdsburg police have been looking into a series of complaints by women who say they believe they were drugged while drinking at Duke's Spirited Cocktails on Healdsburg Plaza. Fortunately, no complaint alleged sexual or physical assaults or robberies.
But the bar, its employees and its customers are being imperiled by some unknown person or persons from either inside or outside the establishment.
"I had about two and a half drinks and from one second to the next, the whole place started sailing," said model and yoga instructor Nina Jarnum. She is one of nine complainants.
She went, with two friends, into Duke's where she had been before. "I've been around the block a few times. I know my alcohol intake, I know how much my body can take. So I was a little bit confused by that, and I immediately told my friend, ‘I need to go home. You need to take me home,'" said Jarnum.
She said she didn't complain or get tested at first. "People's first instinct is, 'Are you sure you weren't just drunk?' And, it's like, 'Yeah, I'm really sure I wasn't drunk,'" said Jarnum. But, when she later heard of other cases, Jarnum then reported her case to the police. "The chat was going like this is happening at Duke's and it's happening to a lot of people," said Jarnum.
We spoke with owner David Ducommun by phone. "We have 16 cameras. They cover all the areas of the bar including the drink preparation areas and we will follow the law wherever it leads and we're eager to prosecute anyone who's committing a crime on our premises," said Mr. Ducommun. As far as Ducommun is aware, no test has come back positive for any kind of drug that could be used in a date rape situation. "I can tell you, to date, we've reviewed the footage of the allegations that we've been getting aware of and the police have and they haven't seen anything," said Ducommun.
It remains a mystery. "We're sitting at a table. We were getting a lot of attention. And it's easy that one of us got distracted and somebody put something inn your drink. It can happen anywhere," said Jarnum.
"We are bringing on more security staff. We're educating our security staff. We want to bring on a female security team as well," said Duke's General Manager Arron Flores
At this point some customers are wary of Duke's.
In a statement to KTVU, police said a woman contacted police on April 4 and said she was "roofied" at Duke's two days earlier. Police said since then more people came forward with similar accusations, including on social media, and said this has been happening over the past year. Police said Duke's is cooperating with their investigation.
Police said they are investigating each reported incident. In addition, they are reviewing video from the bar, interviewing possible witnesses and drug testing potential victims when appropriate.
"There has been no evidence of any attempted sexual assaults as a result of the reports of drink tampering," the police statement read.