Businessman Roy Beepat has fiercely defended his Turkeyen establishment – The Strip – which has come under fire on social media recently by persons alleging cases of robbery at the popular hangout spot.
“What I can say to you is that there is an attempt to damage our reputation. Ask yourself why it’s only The Strip being targeted,” the proprietor told the News Room in an invited comment.
The Strip, which is situated next to the popular Giftland Mall, comprises a number of sports and hangout bars, nightclubs, and restaurants; all of which are separately owned and managed.
Over the last few weeks, several cases of alleged robberies were made public on social media by individuals who called for increased security at the establishment.
One such person was Kimberly Rolonda who, up until last weekend, was a frequent visitor.
“The Strip is really becoming a huge issue. And after almost being robbed, Thank God I’m super observant when I’m out. I can safely say these things can happen to anyone, anywhere but there’s soooo much they can do to prevent and reduce the rate of such,” the young woman wrote on Facebook.
She shared with the News Room that her experience was not an isolated case since several persons have reached out to her, alleging that they witnessed robberies, while some merely heard of them.
“People have been posting about these incidents on Facebook. Videos are being circulated of persons being robbed even though security is there,” she added.
News Room also came across a screenshot, on Facebook, of a conversation between a group of friends who were discussing another incident.
“She went to the washroom and 3 youngsters appear just like that and take her bag with her galaxy phone and she said she didn’t fight them and they still punch her twice to her face swelling it big,” one of the persons in the group chat shared.
The individual followed up by adding “(tell) me how this girl… Get rob in the ghetto… Aka the strip,” which was followed by a number of sad face emojis.
But according to the owner of the establishment, he is unaware of any such incidents.
“I haven’t heard of any instance in the last few months,” he said after admitting that “we’ve had instances [in the past].”
Beepat said that if any such report is brought to the attention of management, those will immediately be transferred to the police.
However, he believes that the reports surfacing are a direct attack on his business and an attempt to damage the reputation of the hangout spot.
“Over sixty thousand people came to the mall last week and you don’t hear people complaining about the mall. It [The Strip] is the most popular night club, and it’s the most popular night club for working class..people and you have to ask yourself why it is being targeted,” he said.
But Beepat’s claim of no robberies of recent was inconsistent with that of a source who serves on the management team of The Strip.
That source, who spoke under the condition of anonymity shared that “we are aware of it [the robberies] and we are reviewing [the] cameras.”
The individual said that even though the management team has not yet been approached with any reports from the victims, those who would have been affected by those incidents are encouraged to reach out to management for video footage to be reviewed.
It is unclear whether those on the management team who are aware of the incidents were able to raise the issue with Beepat since the reports began surfacing.
The source also revealed that efforts are ongoing to curtail these incidents, one of which was the recent procurement of a metal detector.
“We also have a hired a security firm in addition to our internal security… so we are investing in the security detail to curtail it,” the source shared, adding that on any given night roughly 20 security officers are on duty.
Additionally, it was noted that efforts are being made to reconfigure the layout and design of the establishment since the current layout is posing significant challenges.
“The Strip was designed to accommodate about three thousand patrons at one time… but as it is, it was not set up for that volume of people because people are mostly concentrated in the front area so that is where the challenge is” the source added.