At the dawn of the last century it was known as "slipping a mickey" — serving someone a drugged drink, then robbing them.
Now, police suspect some women of putting a modern twist on an old crime. In four instances involving six men across Broward and Palm Beach counties, flirtatious women, singly or in pairs, have slipped drugged drinks to older men, robbing them of more than $50,000 in jewelry and cash.
Police in Palm Beach Shores, a small coastal town, are taking the lead in investigating the robberies, one of which occurred in their jurisdiction. The fear, Detective Paul Liccardo said, is that a victim could overdose on the drugs, similar to date rape drugs.
"The wrong dose . . . can be lethal," he said. Such an instance "could turn this into a homicide."
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The first case started March 22 in Deerfield Beach, where two Michigan men at the Oceans 234 bar apparently were followed back to their Boca Raton condo by a heavyset woman in black stretch pants and a ponytail. She talked her way into their home and made them a drink. They passed out and awoke to find their Rolex watches, valued at more than $30,000, missing.
The second incident occurred on March 26 at Duffy's Sports Grill in West Palm Beach. A woman met a business owner during lunch and they went to a nearby park to have a drink. The man consumed half his drink and blacked out. When he woke up, an undisclosed amount of cash was missing.
On April 3, at Sailfish Marina in Palm Beach Shores, a man met a woman and invited her aboard his boat for a drink. "The next thing he knows, he wakes up five hours later," Liccardo said. Missing was a $10,000 Rolex watch and a $6,000 gold ring.
The most recent case was April 9 in Palm Beach. Two men were walking home from a bar when two women pulled up seeking directions. The four eventually went to one of the men's homes, and that man blacked out. The next morning his watch and wallet were gone.
Police aren't identifying the victims, who are in their 50s and 60s. Others likely haven't come forward out of fear of wives or girlfriends, Liccardo said.
The suspect is 30 to 35, 170 to 180 pounds and 5 foot 7 to 5 foot 8. She smokes Marlboro menthols and has a large tattoo on her right shoulder. She and her accomplice target Rolex watches and diamond jewelry, Liccardo said.
"These women aren't models," the detective said. "They're not what society today would call a 10."
The robberies resemble a string of crimes in the late '90s in Palm Beach County, when a man dubbed the Rolex Bandit targeted women with diamonds and Rolex watches. He and an accomplice approached their victims from behind, threatening to shoot them if they didn't hand over their jewelry.
The bandit, Darryll Capers, ultimately was arrested, pleaded guilty to six felonies and sentenced in 2004 to 12 and a half years in prison.
Anyone with information about the suspects is asked to call Crimestoppers, 800-458-8477.
The Palm Beach Post contributed to this report.
Robert Nolin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4525.