A Northern Ireland man who was drugged and robbed in Colombia has described his shock at the “truly frightening” ordeal.
Steven Grattan had his coffee spiked with Benzodiazepine, a Valium-type drug, on Wednesday morning. He woke up after seven hours at his home in the capital Bogota, dazed and confused. He quickly realised thieves had made off with all his valuables.
Mr Grattan (28), from Ballycarry in Co Antrim, has lived in Colombia for the last four years, working as a journalist.
He is a co-founder of The Bogota Post and works as a journalism lecturer and researcher at the Universidad del Rosario.
Mr Grattan is currently on vacation from his university job and has been teaching English. Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, he explained how he was following his usual routine when the incident took place.
After leaving his home in Las Aguas in the heart of the sprawling city he went for a coffee – but remembers nothing afterwards. “I woke up at home, seven hours later feeling very nauseous and confused, as it was already dark,” he said.
“It was 5pm, I never made it to my 11am private classes and my 5pm student had arrived, but I was still drugged and largely incapable of waking up.”
He began to realise all his valuables were gone, including two phones, a camera, about £100 and his laptop containing all his teaching material and work.
“The culprit had laid me on my bed while carrying out the robbery,” he added. “A lot of these possessions were quite well hidden around the apartment, so they must have taken their time while looking around.”
Mr Grattan suspects the culprit doped his coffee and, while he was dazed, had taken him back to his apartment, located around 30 seconds away.
Still dazed, he managed to find an internet cafe to get in touch with a friend via Facebook.
“This experience was truly frightening,” he added. “It feels violating to know that someone took advantage of me in this way.”
Yet Mr Grattan says he is not considering returning home, adding: “I have been presented with an abundance of professional opportunities here, and due to the political climate in the UK, especially that of Northern Ireland, I think I will stay put and be much happier here for now.”