SOUTH BEACH — Robbed, drugged and dumped in a cab, Luis Govantes had one of those Made in Miami stories that even he says sounds crazy. But Govantes, 35, of Melbourne, offers up his misadventures in Miami Beach as a cautionary tale for other hapless visitors.
Govantes, who works in real estate, drove down to South Beach on the weekend to hang out with two buddies visiting from Australia. He was to crash with them at the Shore Club, where they were staying.
The three decided to go to Story Nightclub, 136 Collins Ave., Saturday night. There, Govantes remembers having drinks Crown whisky with a splash of ginger ale inside the VIP area.
His memory faded after the sixth drink. Somehow, the friends became separated in the wee hours.
I dont remember the last 20 minutes inside the club, he says from his home in Melbourne. I believe someone in the club drugged me. Thats the only thing I can think.
No one from Story Nightclub could be reached for comment, despite several phone calls from The Miami Herald.
Around 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Govantes found himself sitting on a curb across from the Shore Club, some two miles from the nightclub. Details on how he got into the cab, from the club to the hotel are skimpy.
He felt around for his iPhone and wallet. The wallet, with his Visa credit card and money, was empty and the phone was gone. He called Miami Beach police to report he had been robbed.
In the report, Govantes said he remembers the taxi driver demanding a $20 fare for the two-mile trip from the club to the Shore Club.
I looked down . . . and started to feel something was not right. I didnt have any money on me.
He said he had $400 in cash when he hit the club Saturday evening, but had used a credit card to pay his tab, and always kept a spare $20 in his wallet.
I was still feeling so drugged at that point.
Govantes said the cabdriver, whom he describes as chubby with a dark complexion, drove him to an ATM at 1685 Washington Ave. and watched as he retrieved the money.
His stolen Visa card was used twice later Sunday morning at a BP gasoline station on Northwest 95th Street for two transactions, the credit card company told Govantes $43.75 at 7:35 a.m. and $75 at 8:13 a.m.
Govantes called the BP station and gave a description of the driver. He says the BP clerk told him a taxi pulled up around that time for a fill-up and that the driver matched the description Govantes provided. So far, no one has been able to identify the taxi company or driver.