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Police: Bar in Kalamazoo accused of drink tampering

y bar.jpg
Posted at 3:11 PM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-15 18:24:53-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — West Michigan college students are speaking out after they believe over a dozen of their friends were drugged at a local bar.

Y Bar and Bistro in Kalamazoo is being investigated by police after a viral TikTok made by Western Michigan University college students accused the owner of drugging and tampering with 14 of their friends' drinks.



♬ original sound - Grace Van Overberghe

“If you live in the Kalamazoo area or go to Western Michigan University, please listen," said Grace, one of the girls who said she believed was drugged. “We all only received drinks from one person the entire night and if you’re from this area you probably know who I’m talking about," she said.

The two girls, Grace and Abby, who decided to leave their last names out for privacy reasons said they got to the bar for dinner and drinks around 7:30 p.m. on Monday night and don't remember anything after 9 p.m.

"For us to just to not have any recollection of the night and knowing that we did not drink enough to have that...there were no memories. It was a complete blank slate. Then the way our bodies felt, you know, we didn’t feel like nauseous or anything from drinking too much. Our bodies felt wrong," said Grace.

The girls said the next morning they were drug tested and had positive tests for various drugs.

"We know that it is a common thing in this place, being drugged. Multiple of my friends…it is like a known thing. It is normal now which is disgusting, but it is a normal thing to be drugged at this place. We just didn’t want to be those people who didn’t say anything," said Abigail, a WMU student who also believes she was drugged on Monday.

Grace and Abigail said they reported it to police and after multiple attempts, they finally got a case number.

Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Chief Vernon Coakley released a statement on the investigation:

Read the full statement from KDPS:

Hello community. My name is Vernon Coakley, and I have the honor of serving as the chief of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety. Today, I want to give an update on the allegations of drink tampering at the Y bar. First and foremost, at KDPS our top priority is to ensure that every Kalamazoo resident business owner and visitor is safe.

We are working diligently and have assigned several detectives to the case to get to the bottom of this situation as soon as possible. Thanks to the videos on social media, we have received an outpouring of tips from our community through Silent Observer and to KDPS directly in the last 24 hours.

We are working with our partners at Western Michigan University to thoroughly investigate the situation, and we will share more details once they're available. Kalamazoo as always, please stay safe and enjoy the rest of your day.

Fox 17 also spoke with Michigan State Police, and they said it is very uncommon for people to come forward with complaints like this.

"That isn’t necessarily a reflection of how frequently it may happen because obviously there are a couple factors involved when that might occur. One is awareness and the other is for the lack of a better term embarrassment or a regret factor. Even though it may have occurred, someone may not be able to recall enough details to where it is worth the time, effort and embarrassment to make a police report," said Detective Sergeant Carey Casperson with Michigan State Police.

“If you have ever felt personally victimized, felt like you’ve been drugged or anything bad has happened to you at Y Bar please go to Silent Observer and write a tip. It is completely anonymous and you can tell them your story," said Grace in the TikTok.

Fox 17 also reached out to the owner of the bar, Jon Rockwood, about the investigation but have not yet heard back.

Police have not confirmed that Rockwood is involved in the investigation.