NEW YORK -- Victims continue to be targeted inside and outside some Manhattan bars and clubs.
As CBS2's Ali Bauman reports, police are in the thick of this investigation, but right now sources are telling us the NYPD is looking into two very similar robbery patterns. In many of the cases, it appears the victims were offered or slipped drugs before they were assaulted and robbed.
Linda Clary hassince 33-year-old John Umberger died last spring.
"People are still getting hurt because these people are still potentially out there," Clary said.
It was just a few weeks after.
In both cases, the men were last seen leaving gay bars in Hell's Kitchen with strangers before they were found dead of suspected overdoses with fraudulent charges on their cards.
"I'm just again relieved that people are putting the pieces together because to me, the greatest tragedy would be labeling someone's death an overdose when that is not what happened," Clary said.
Sources tell us police now believe their deaths were part of a pattern with more than a dozen other victims, who survived.
In each case, investigators believe a group of four men approached the victims offering drugs, and after drugging them, the group allegedly stole their cell phones and electronically transferred money out of their accounts.
The NYPD has arrested four people in this ring and are still looking for a fifth.
This investigation has led police to identify a second pattern with different suspects and possibly involving five more overdose deaths.
In these cases, investigators believe the suspects befriend their victims inside bars, where they either offer them drugs or slip it in their drinks before stealing money, phones and jewelry by force.
Police have made some arrests but say this pattern continues.
At this point, police have not labeled any of these deaths as murders and are awaiting toxicology results from the medical examiner.
It initially appeared the suspects may have been targeting gay men, but sources now tell us the victims include both men and women.
So police are warning everyone -- never leave a drink unattended or accept drugs from a stranger.
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