New York’s gay community appears to be the target of a gang that lures its victims into nightlife spots before drugging and robbing them, often using their own cell phones to drain their bills.
So far, two gay men have been murdered in eerily similar circumstances, just five weeks apart, but so far more than a dozen are said to have been targeted.
Both John Umberger, 33, a Washington, DC political adviser who disappeared in May, and Julio Ramirez, 25, who disappeared in April, had enjoyed a night out on the city’s gay scene before dying the next day.
The men’s cell phones were both missing when their bodies were found and their bank accounts emptied by tens of thousands of dollars.
John Umberger, 33, a political adviser in Washington, DC, was murdered after leaving a gay bar in New York City in May
Julio Ramirez, 25, a social worker in Brooklyn, was murdered after leaving a gay bar in New York City in April
Detectives are believed to have identified suspects, but no arrests or charges have been filed by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is accused of “impeding” the investigation into the men’s deaths.
So far, five months after their deaths, there has been no word from awakened Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who appears to be “hampering” the investigation.
In fact, no warning has been issued to the gay community that people should be on the lookout for anything suspicious when out on a night out.
The gang’s MO sees them hunting gay men in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. In both cases, the victims were seen leaving a gay club or bar with three men.
Finally, one of the men’s mothers now speaks out in a desperate attempt to draw attention to the sickening case.
‘I can’t be quiet anymore. Especially in the gay community it should be known that they target gay men. This same group of killers has drugged, robbed and murdered countless young gay men in New York City,” Umberger’s mother Linda Clary told the newspaper. New York Post.
‘I can’t be quiet anymore. Especially in the gay community it should be known that they target gay men. This same group of killers drugged, robbed and murdered countless young gay men in New York City,” Linda Clary, Umberger’s mother, pictured right
Umberger’s credit card was last used at gay nightclub The Q NYC on May 28, 2022 at 3am.
Umberger’s body was found four days later on June 1 in a Midtown Manhattan mansion where he was staying
“New York is unnecessarily unsafe and it breaks my heart because John was so excited to be in Manhattan. He loved being there. He was a little ray of sunshine.
“We have to stop this,” she continued.
While her son’s killers are on the loose, Clary believes the gang may have killed other young men.
And while she’s grateful for the dedication of the detectives investigating Umberger’s death and working on identified suspects, she claims the prosecution “refuses to prosecute my son’s killers.”
Umberger had been out for a night out on May 28 and visited The Q NYC, a gay nightclub with DJs, drag shows and stand-up comedy on several floors.
He’d gone to the club alone after dinner with friends in Chelsea’s Tao Downtown.
Ramirez died of a drug overdose according to toxicology reports
Security footage taken in the early hours of April 21 shows Julio walking away from the Ritz Bar and Lounge, a gay dance club, with three unidentified men
Records show that his credit card was last used at approximately 3 a.m. He was later seen to be captured on surveillance footage outside the Upper East Side mansion where he was staying.
Footage clearly shows him getting out of the car with two other men and entering the mansion.
The couple will then leave after 45 minutes.
What happened in the hours after that remains a mystery as someone appeared to be responding to text messages on Umberger’s phone.
Eventually, his phone stopped pinging his location, but the text showed up as “read,” so Clary assumed her son was safe.
“I thought John was reading my lyrics, but was too busy and ignoring me. You let a day go by, a day go by and then you say this is weird.’
Her son’s body was found four days later in a fifth-floor apartment of a mansion owned by Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice, where Umberger had worked as director of diplomacy and political programs.
Umberger’s cellphone was used to withdraw money from his bank accounts
Ramirez’s credit cards were also used to buy expensive items from luxury stores
His credit cards were stolen along with his cellphone. The cards were used to purchase liquor near a homeless shelter, while items were also purchased at a Foot Locker.
Furthermore, $25,000 had been deducted from his accounts using various money-related apps on his phone, including Venmo and PayPal, which allowed gang members to change passwords to gain access.
Mom, Clary, who is from Atlanta, was in New York over the weekend getting political when she recorded a video message for a group supporting Republican Representative Lee Zeldin for New York State Governor.
Lee Zeldin has promised to restore security in New York and to fire District Attorney Alvin Bragg on day one. This election may be the last chance to hold my son’s killers to account,” she said.
But it seems that Umberger wasn’t the gang’s first victim.
Just five weeks earlier, Ramirez, a Brooklyn social worker, disappeared in a similar situation.
He was caught on a security camera leaving gay club The Ritz Bar and Lounge, just two blocks from The Q NYC.
Again, three men were spotted as Ramirez left the club on a Thursday night in April.
An hour later, he was found dead in the back of a taxi on the Lower East Side, with his phone and wallet missing.
$20,000 had been sucked out of his accounts with apps on his phone, including Zelle, while his credit cards were used to pay for expensive dinners and treatments at spas.
Umberger and Ramirez died of a drug overdose according to preliminary toxicology reports, but sources have said the couple spiked their drinks with a date-rape drug.
It’s unclear what caused the long delay in getting the results of the tests, but the Post suggests Bragg’s office is likely overworked thanks to “an unprecedented number of resignations from assistant prosecutors” who hate change. in bail reform.
Before the pandemic, New York state made sweeping bailout reforms in an effort to reduce the number of low-level inmates.
It has released many repeat offenders back into the community.
That was compounded in New York City by the election of District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who instructed his staff to avoid bailing cash whenever possible.
It now sees staff within the DA’s office being ordered to stop seeking jail terms and instead lower crime charges in some cases.