In what he calls a “year of hell,” WTXF chief meteorologist John Bolaris has been battling to protect his good name, as well as his credit score, after being drugged and robbed while on vacation in South Beach last spring.
In a new Philadelphia Daily News piece, Bolaris recounts his strange, made-for-TV odyssey, which began with drinks at a poolside bar and ended with an FBI investigation.
It all started last March while Bolaris was on vacation in Miami. He was approached by two beautiful young women with eastern European accents who began flirting with him and asking about his job as a weathercaster.
As the three conversed at a poolside bar, the girls coaxed Bolaris into doing a shot with them. As he would later find out, the shot contained a roofie.
After a hazy night out with the two girls, Bolaris came to in the back of a cab, his shirt stained with red wine and a huge painting sitting next to him. Uncertain of what had happened, Bolaris tracked down the girls, who said that he had purchased the painting at a fundraiser:
They met him at his hotel–ostensibly to return his sunglasses, which they had taken by accident–and promised to straighten the whole thing out, if only Bolaris would share a cab with them to the Caviar Bar, where one of the women said she left her purse.
Bolaris agreed to accompany them to the Caviar Bar where the girls ended up drugging him again, running up his credit card with expensive booze and caviar.
A few days later, American Express contacted Bolaris inquiring about the $43,000 that had been charged to his credit card. He was shocked and the credit card company promised to look into it.
After contacting management at the Caviar Bar, who provided images of Bolaris there when the charges were made, American Express told him that they couldn’t accept his story.
“They closed my account and referred me to a collection agency,” Bolaris told the Daily News. “My credit was ruined. I was humiliated and embarrassed.”
In response, Bolaris filed a $50,000 lawsuit against AmEx and contacted Miami police, who put him in touch with the FBI. At the time the FBI was investigating a ring of Eastern European scam artists that were preying on vacationers in South Beach:
The FBI said the women hunted late at night for men who wore expensive watches and shoes, and typically lured their prey to private clubs run by other members of the ring. The clubs – including the Caviar Bar – were just fronts, and were not open to the public.
“Helping to take down those criminals,” Bolaris said, “that felt really good. That was my redemption.”