A patron at Top Mix Bar and Kitchen on Norfolk Avenue in Roxbury left her clutch outside, went back out to retrieve it and found it but with $360 missing, then got punched in the face by the man who'd been captured on surveillance video lifting the money, police and the bar's owner told the Boston Licensing Board today.
The incident was one of several involving people acting out at local watering holes for which the board held hearings today. The board decides Thursday if any of the bars could have prevented the activity and, if so, if they warrant any sort of penalty.
Top Mix owner Joseph Correia and Lt. Det. Stephen Meade told the bar that shortly before closing on Sept. 21, a woman left the bar for a smoke. She put her clutch on a car windshield, finished her cigarette, then went inside - where she promptly realized she'd left her bag outside.
When she went out to get it, she discovered $360 - all the money she'd withdrawn from an ATM - missing. She asked Correia if he had any video pointing outside. When he said he did, the two took a look - and spotted a guy they both knew, in fact, the woman considered him a friend, rifling through her clutch, taking out the money, counting it and then packing it away before he, too, entered the bar.
Correia said that as the bar closed, he pulled the man aside and, with the woman present, asked him to return her money. He denied taking it. Correia said he showed him the video. He still denied it. The woman pleaded with him and told him she needed the money for her kids. But then, Meade said, the man punched the woman in the face and ran away. Correia said he has not been back to the bar since.
Board members told him he probably should have called police once the woman reported the theft. "I thought, since they knew each other, I assumed he would probably be a little embarrassed and give the money back," he replied.
A punch to the face also figured in a hearing over an incident at Storyville, 90 Exeter St. in the Back Bay, around 1:20 a.m. on Sept. 29. According to the bar's manager and police, one guy said another guy knocked over his drink and asked him to be careful. The other guy denied knocking over the drink. The two began yelling and the alleged spiller decided to bring the evening to an end by punching the alleged drink owner in the face. When police arrived, he acknowledged throwing the punch but said it was in self defense.
The board also held a hearing on an incident on Sept. 30 at Abe and Louie's, 793 Boylston St., in the Back Bay, in which a couple repaid the restaurant's efforts to find and wake one of them up after she'd fallen asleep in the lady's room by become very antagonistic and verbally abusive.
The bartender said a couple came in that night, sat at the bar and each ordered a glass of wine. The woman got up, half her wine untouched. About 20 minutes later, the bartender said, he asked the man where his partner was. Out for a smoke, he replied. About ten minutes later, though, the restaurant manager came up and told the bartender there was an unconscious woman in the lady's room and asked if there was anybody at the bar missing somebody.
It turned out the woman had fallen asleep in a stall. A restaurant hostess grew worried when, on her second check of the lady's room, she noticed the same pair of shoes under one stall door. A nurse who happened to be using the restroom said she needed to get her out - she could be ODing. The hostess snaked her way under the door and unlocked it, and the woman inside "came to just like a light switch," the manager said.
Meanwhile, at the bar, the man had gone from being friendly to angrily demanding to know why the manager was asking him questions. Police and EMTs arrived, after the manager called 911. Both the man and the woman were escorted out, cursing restaurant staffers, police and each other.