Rarely do men who have been drugged, robbed and beaten in Las Vegas call me to reveal details, but Brian Mamak is the exception.
Mamak has a bitter message to deliver: Las Vegas nightclubs are not safe.
Mamak, 30, was one of 300,000 visitors who packed Las Vegas over Labor Day weekend, looking to have a good time.
His experience started Friday night with a midnight visit to the XS Nightclub at Encore after some gambling. His friends were already inside the club when he showed up; the group had purchased a table. The place got wild, as expected.
Mamak met another man and they began chatting. Around 3 a.m., the two men headed over to talk to two women.
Fade to black.
”I don’t remember walking out of that club,” Mamak said recently. “The next thing I know, I black out and I wake up in the back of a car, maybe a taxi. There’s a female in the front and one in the back. That female in the back is shouting at me to remove my pants.”
He doesn’t believe they were the same women who were at XS.
He woke up about 11 a.m. Saturday back in his room at the Hard Rock Hotel. He was missing $1,400 cash and a $500 iPhone. He told me he had bruises and cuts on his face and head, although that information did not appear on the crime incident report he later filed.
“It was the worst day of my life,” said Mamak, a former civilian contractor in Afghanistan, now self-employed. “They took my dignity away from me.”
Mamak, a regular visitor now living in Southern California, declared, “I’ll never step foot in Las Vegas again.” Nor is he reticent about sharing his experience. “I convinced five people not to go to the fight last week.”
Mamak said he remains traumatized. He also is talking to lawyers.
His advice to club-goers? “Don’t go to Las Vegas.”
I would love to see surveillance footage of Mamak leaving XS. When I asked Wynn Las Vegas for comment, spokesman Michael Weaver said the company would provide any information requested by police, but nothing thus far had been requested.
The second man had a different experience. Patrick, 26, who didn’t want his last name disclosed, is from Wisconsin and visits Las Vegas a few times a year.
Like Mamak, Patrick remembered going over to talk to two women, who he believed were from a different country. “I don’t remember a single thing after that,” Patrick said, until he woke up in his off-Strip hotel.
“It’s possible I was drugged,” he said cautiously. “I did not discover anything of mine missing.”
“I don’t feel I had enough (alcohol) to be missing that much of a chunk of that night,” Patrick said. “I didn’t do any gambling, but I woke up with two $5 poker chips in my pocket.”
Here’s the difference. Patrick has no problem returning to Las Vegas. In fact, he returned to XS the next night.
Does he feel safe here? “Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.”
What happened, Patrick said, could and does happen anywhere in Las Vegas.
Since 2006, I’ve been writing about problems in Las Vegas nightclubs and how Gaming Control Board warns and fines places that permit illegal activity and how police undercover stings reveal illegal behavior.
I’ve received heartbreaking calls telling me about women being drugged and raped after visiting various Las Vegas nightclubs.
This is the first time I’ve heard from a man about being drugged at a nightclub who was willing to reveal his name and reported it to police.
Men need to be more aware of the potential dangers of nightclubs and not just assume it’s a woman’s problem.
Brian Mamak wants people to know that. And so do I.
Jane Ann Morrison’s column appears Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Email her at Jane@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0275.