Scoop: Police investigation concludes “roofie” report alleged in The Union is “unsubstantiated”

A detailed Nevada City police investigation has concluded that a recent allegation on the front page of The Union that a patron’s drink had been “roofied” (surreptitiously drugged) at a local bar was  “inconclusive” and “based on the facts, combined with no toxicological report, (the police department) is closing this case as unsubstantiated.”

Sierra Foothills Report had filed a public-records request for the nine-page report, which includes a “supplemental incident report” dated 12/27. And it was made available. The name of the person whose drink was allegedly “roofied” was redacted. (No local media, included The Union, has written about it. We are on vacation, but we took time out to write about the police findings because of its importance to the case).

A front-page article in The Union, dated November 13, read “Patron reports being roofied at Nevada City bar.” It cited an anonymous person called “A.Y.”  At the time it quoted police as saying, “We are following up, working with Golden Era and reviewing security footage.”

A second report in The Union, dated November 28, claimed “Dozens of locals say they’ve been ‘roofied’ at Nevada County bars,” using the first alleged incident as a “news hook.”

Though a concern, to be sure, this blog was skeptical of the newspaper’s front-page findings because the reporting was incomplete. The background is here, here and here.

The new nine-page police document, titled a “supplemental incident report” concludes: “I have reviewed the surveillance footage from the Golden Era multiple times and reviewed the statement provided by Officer Goin by (the person who was allegedly was roofied). After watching the surveillance footage I have concluded the following:

“-(This person’s) drink was either in her possession, her husband’s possession, or in view of the surveillance cameras while in the Mine Shaft and Golden Era.

“-The bartenders can be seen opening/dispensing the drinks to (this person’s) husband and at no time did I observe any suspicious movements made by the bartenders while opening/dispensing these drinks.

“-The first and third drinks consumed by (this person) while at the Golden Era were poured into glasses by (this person’s) husband. Again no suspicious movements were noticed.

“-During the times (this person’s) drinks were left unattended in the bar, there was no suspicious activity or movements in the area of (this person’s) drink which would lead me to believe somebody was placing something in her drink.”

Later, it adds, “At no point did I observe anyone make a movement toward the glasses, where a drug could have been placed in said glasses.”

It also said: “During the time (this person) and her husband were at the Mine Shaft Saloon, their beverages never left their sight and no subjects were visible tampering with their drinks.”

The report is by Police Det. Luke Holdcroft. Grass Valley police also cooperated with the investigation as part of a “job sharing” agreement.

The next questions is how is The Union going to “walk back” its sensational front-page reporting on this topic and what kind of internal investigation will be initiated by management about its news-gathering. Perhaps The Union’s weekly columnist George Boardman could be the public editor/ombudsman!

The Union’s “roofie” expose reminds me of the “Where’s the beef commercial”?

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

One thought on “Scoop: Police investigation concludes “roofie” report alleged in The Union is “unsubstantiated””

  1. The report needed to go one step further:
    I have reviewed footage of these folks in several bars and-“A night of bar hopping led to getting drunk”.

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