As much crime as may happen in public in New York City—muggings, store robberies, cases of mistaken Über driver—it’s important to remember that crime can happen anywhere, even in your own home, even and especially when you bring three strangers back from a bar in a drunken stupor and break down your own door before falling asleep.
This is what happened to one Williamsburg man this weekend, DNA Info reports, who made three friends, two men and a woman, before last call at the bar LP ‘N Harmony. It seems he invited them to come home with him, lost his keys, broke into his own apartment, and woke up to find himself thoroughly robbed. The man told a co-owner of the bar that he believes he was drugged. Two laptop computers were reportedly taken from his apartment, along with their chargers and an iPhone 4S, which the police estimate to be worth about $5,300 all told. Above all things, the three made off with their poor host’s wallet, which they used to take out $800 in cash, according to ATM records, and in a demonstration of sheer will, somehow spent $200 at a single McDonald’s. No one has yet been charged.
It feels crass to make light of this man’s plight, but it also reads like a textbook lesson in “stranger danger.” The idea of being robbed by someone you bring home is so played as to be fodder for sitcom drama—George Costanza in “The Subway” episode of Seinfeld comes to mind—but it is disturbingly plausible. Of course, you can get robbed on the street, sober or otherwise, and many, many people do. At times it feels like the collective fear of being robbed—or hit by a taxi, or crushed in the subway doors—binds the city together rather, than repelling us away from one another. Most people here are not criminals, that we can believe, at least (Stealing cable doesn’t really count.), and when something does go wrong, New Yorkers rarely hesitate to jump in and help. Whatever combination of trust, liquor, and/or mystery drug cocktail led this man to invite three apparent strangers into his home in the wee hours of the morning, we can only hope not to face the same menace while our guard is down.
Follow John Sherman on Twitter @_john_sherman.