My son got drugged in Krakow Poland

Aug 24th, 2019, 10:05 AM
  #1  
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My son got drugged in Krakow Poland

My kid got drugged in Krakow!


Here is the story.


My son did a summer semester abroad in Eastern Europe this summer. One weekend this past July he took a bus with some friends to Krakow largely to visit Auschwitz but also to experience Krakow.


Like many a 21 year old, the “Little Havana Party Hostel” seemed like the place to stay. There he joined up with a pub crawl organized at the hostel where a guide took he and a group of others on a tour of some of Krakow’s nightlife. Being with a guide gave him some semblance of security. That was not the way it worked out. Along the way he met up with what he described as a “nice looking couple (man and woman) who spoke near perfect English”. They befriended him. At some point the couple bought a round of drinks from what sounds like a liquor store. They shared their drink on the street outside the liquor store. My son says about a half hour to an hour later he remembers nothing but waking up in his bed the next day at the Little Havana Party Hostel. His new Iphone - gone. ID and credit and debit cards - gone. They did leave him with about $100 US in zloty in his wallet. He also had an abnormal painful sickness beyond the sickness of a really bad hangover. He had about $350 in his debit card account at a US credit union that had been drained in charges. ( We were able to recoup some of this later through our credit union.) Really thankful his passport was at the hostel.


He thinks that outside the liquor store either his drink was exchanged or something dropped into his drink.


Now let me be the first to say that when I heard about it - as scared as I was for my son- it did cross my mind. “Did he just drink way too much vodka, pass out, and get robbed?” I quickly came to the conclusion that this was legit.


Why? He is from Wisconsin. If you have ever been here you’d get it. He said he had been drinking but was not drunk when it happened. I also trust him enough that I don’t think he would lie to me about this.


Couple other details and thoughts -


When he pinged his phone the next day it was located in Ukraine. Poland and Ukraine have a common border so maybe this isn’t earth shattering but sounds like something highly organized for that phone to travel that quickly. (BTW Kudos to Verizon for helping erase the thing - although they probably got most of what they were trying to get by then.)


How weird is it that they left him with $100 USD in zloty in his wallet? It's almost like they knew just how far to push this. Drug him OK. Just don’t kill him. Steal from him OK. Just leave him enough to get home and not go to the police or maybe even worse the US embassy. (The place where travel advisories are filed).


If you google Poland and Drugged or Krakow and Drugged you will find this or a variation has happened before. He wasn’t breaking new ground here. Later in his trip - my son met some Australians, one of which described the same thing happening to him in Krakow. The Australian in question reported that he (unlike my son) had gone to the Krakow police and found it to be an utter waste of time. Albeit speculation, he told my son that he felt like the police were in on it.


One other detail. How did he get home that night? They used the Uber app on his phone before stealing it. So in a very coincidental way I am happy they had the good sense to steal the use of his Uber app to get him home.



He is back in the US. Other than a bit of a hurt ego and a few scary times for all of us. It ended OK. Be careful out there kids. Be careful out there kids.




mmwi is offline  
Aug 24th, 2019, 10:10 AM
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Scary, but it could have been much worse if it happened to your daughter.
BDKR is offline  
Aug 24th, 2019, 10:49 AM
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Sorry to hear that.
In retrospect, one can always be smart.
Never take any drinks from strangers. Always finish your drink before you go to the restroom. The GHB drops to knock out someone have been around since the 1990s.
But fact is that „party capitals“ always attract thugs. I would not even say that his young age made him especially vulnerable. Just being at the wrong time in that place.
More or less something for the category Sh!t happens.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2019, 11:00 AM
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So, the funny thing is, I did google “drugged in krakow”. Because I enjoy the occasional tasty urban legend. Came up with several hits about this happening in dodgy strip clubs. Is it possible your son cleaned the story up for his gullible Wisconsin mother?


But if the story is true, a more apt admonition is “Be smart out there, everyone.”

marvelousmouse is offline  
Aug 24th, 2019, 11:15 AM
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Knock out drops have been around for decades in Europe and are not exclusive to shady establishments. It can happen at the local pub as well as at any upscale bar. As long as the target is solo and does not keep an eye on his drink when „friendly strangers“ join him or her.
And PP is right - more risk for solo women as these drops aren’t called rape drops without reason.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2019, 11:26 AM
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Oh, I agree Cowboy, I’m just saying that I took the OP up on her suggestion to google it. Yes, well known problem, but every other variation is not as parent friendly. Strip club instead of hostel pub crawl. Pretty girls asking travelers if they want to go for a drink “nearby” instead of a couple who spoke nearly perfect English, who went to a liquor store.
marvelousmouse is offline  
Aug 24th, 2019, 11:33 AM
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That’s right. But strip clubs would probably be seen more as the domain of older men in Europe. In the times of the internet I don‘t think that anything you can see in a strip club will be so exciting for 20somethings 😉
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2019, 01:20 PM
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"In the times of the internet I don‘t think that anything you can see in a strip club will be so exciting for 20somethings "

They can see something they'll never see on the Internet. REAL women.
BDKR is offline  
Aug 24th, 2019, 02:17 PM
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I am really sorry to hear this happened to your son... and thank goodness it was not any worse.
So - he was with a tour guide which you say gave him some sort of security... what happened to the other people on the tour, and why did you son go with this couple.
He is only 21, so very young. I am glad nothing else happened to him.
Sounds like these people your son met were from the Ukraine..
millie2112 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2019, 02:17 PM
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Right? And Cowboy, you might just be underestimating the “exotic” appeal of a strip club for a kid from Wisconsin. Think most 20-something guys from my hometown have been to the joint on state line just to say they have.

I’m not saying that’s what really happened, but it would make more sense than an organized criminal outfit stalking hostel pub crawls and then being thoughtful enough to send the guy back to his hostel via Uber, using his stolen cell phone. Plus, I’m always amused when someone’s parent posts a “trip report”.

(it wasn’t a tour guide. That’s really what caught my attention. It’s a pub crawl led by a staff volunteer at the hostel. They’re not babysitters, and the only “security” part of that is staying with the herd, which he apparently didn’t do.)

Last edited by marvelousmouse; Aug 24th, 2019 at 02:20 PM.
marvelousmouse is offline  
Aug 24th, 2019, 02:36 PM
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Sorry this happened, I truly am.

Curious about the Wisconsin comment, I searched. When I hear Wisconsin, I think cheese. Uh, no, looks like it's beer! I learn something new every day.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/wiscon...unk-youre-home
Melnq8 is online now  
Aug 24th, 2019, 09:40 PM
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This is really frightening. I am glad your son was not more seriously hurt and is now safe at home.
Nikki is offline  
Aug 24th, 2019, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by marvelousmouse View Post
but every other variation is not as parent friendly. Strip club instead of hostel pub crawl. Pretty girls asking travelers if they want to go for a drink “nearby” instead of a couple who spoke nearly perfect English,
I assumed one member of the couple was a pretty girl. I don't think couple excludes that.
Traveler_Nick is online now  
Aug 24th, 2019, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by marvelousmouse View Post
Right? And Cowboy, you might just be underestimating the “exotic” appeal of a strip club for a kid from Wisconsin. Think most 20-something guys from my hometown have been to the joint on state line just to say they have.

Neither one of us know what has really happened.
But: If you're taking this seriously it is absolutely incorrect to associate these incidents - which happen everywhere from Ibiza and Barcelona to Berlin and Prague every day - as something associated with strip clubs, brothels, etc.
As in: Avoid those shady establishments and you'll be fine.
Actually, it's quite the opposite. Red light including brothels establishments are legal almost everywhere in Europe, but are run under higher scrutiny than regular pubs and the owners of such establishments have their own security and staff. As they want you to spend your money on their overpriced beverages and on whatever else they have to offer.. and do not want someone else to drag away the cow they want to milk.

GHB/knock out drugs are much more a problem of regular, crowded, non- red light establishments like clubs, pubs etc. - i.e. where things can happen in a big crowds without anyone else noticing. So the "helpful strangers" who assist a "drunk", in fact drugged, solo person to get outside remain unnoticed.

It's also a very realistic scenario that the couple invited the guy to some drinks they had outside the pubs. It's quite common to get some booze from a convenience store and have it in the streets, if only to save some money. In this case, the thugs had already suceeded in isolating the victim from friends or fellow pub crawlers.

It's also quite smart that they sent him back via Uber. If they had left him somewhere in the streets, chances would have been that he had been discovered quickly, and cops could have gotten involved. But this way, they gained several hours - e.g. to get away again to Ukraine. If that was the plan.

Again, I'm not saying that the story must be 100% accurate, but in general it's a pretty standard operating procedure,

Last edited by Cowboy1968; Aug 24th, 2019 at 10:46 PM.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2019, 10:55 PM
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Scary story, but this can happen just about anywhere in the world. It's a shame to say it, but you should never trust strangers who are too friendly in any city.
kerouac is online now  
Aug 25th, 2019, 12:08 AM
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It’s all realistic, Cowboy, yes. I understand it happens. I was solely commenting on the fact that the OP believes this is an issue that is specific to Krakow and said to google it. When you google “drugging in krakow”, it turns up the strip club scam. It probably didn’t happen that way, but I also don’t think the guy was 100% honest with his mother. Or the OP filled in some blanks to make herself feel better.

(I personally don’t believe that they put him in an Uber so they could escape to Ukraine. The cell phone might have ended up there—it doesn’t mean the thieves did.)

marvelousmouse is offline  
Aug 25th, 2019, 01:01 AM
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Yeah, so never accept "drinks" in a glass or an opened bottle from strangers.
menachem is offline  
Aug 25th, 2019, 05:11 AM
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You are so right. I have had this thought many times since it happened.
mmwi is offline  
Aug 25th, 2019, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by kerouac View Post
Scary story, but this can happen just about anywhere in the world. It's a shame to say it, but you should never trust strangers who are too friendly in any city.
This, unfortunately.
Trophywife007 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2019, 08:33 AM
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I appreciate you joining Fodor's to post your son's experience. It's always good for people to be reminded. I'll call this one a "near miss" because he got out of it physically unharmed.

Most people reading here are much (much) older. Would be good if you post this on some of the hostel websites or travel forum aimed at your son's demographic. Don't drink on the street with overly friendly strangers who speak perfect English is a good warning for newbie travelers!

And that being part of a hostel pub crawl could make you more an obvious target than a person out on their own? How did these thugs know where to take him home to?
suze is offline  

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