A man reported being beaten and robbed after leaving Bretz nightclub on the night the Adams Street business celebrated the end of its long history as one of Ohio’s oldest gay bars.
Thomas Wilcox, 45, said he was robbed and attacked on Dec. 22 as he was leaving Bretz nightclub. Mr. Wilcox said he remembers being called a homophobic slur as he was being attacked.
Thomas Wilcox, 45, told police he was walking downtown on Adams after leaving Bretz shortly after midnight Friday. He was headed toward Georgjz’s Fine Food & Spirits where his husband, Karl Wilgus, was waiting for him.
He said his memories are vague, but he remembers feeling uncomfortable and pulling out his phone to record his surroundings. He said he also remembers being called a homophobic slur as he was assaulted.
A police report states his iPhoneX — the newest model available from Apple — was stolen. Mr. Wilcox said he did not know if the incident would qualify as a hate crime.
“He was calling me faggot as he was beating me, but I don’t know if it was because I’m gay or because I had an iPhoneX,” Mr. Wilcox said.
The police report detailed Mr. Wilcox’s and an eye witness account of the assault and subsequent escape of the suspect. However, the report did not explicitly classify the incident as a hate crime.
Toledo police spokesman Lt. Jeff Thieman on Tuesday said he did not immediately have information about the case.
Mr. Wilcox was transported to Toledo Hospital after the incident. He said he suffered a fracture at the base of his skull, a fractured nose, a black eye and a concussion.
Mr. Wilcox on Tuesday said he’s struggling to cope with an attack that left him mentally, emotionally, and physically scarred. He said he’s called a therapist, and expects to miss time at his job.
Nick Komives, executive director of Equality Toledo who in November was elected to Toledo City Council, said he was upset and dismayed when he heard of the suspected attack on Mr. Wilcox.
“There have been multiple attacks on LGBT people downtown in the last few years,” he said. “I hope we continue to consider pressing charges against somebody based on hate crime in hopes it will help deter future hate crimes from occurring in our city.”
Federal authorities define a hate crime as any criminal offense against a person or property deemed motivated by prejudice toward a race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.
The attack came on a night where Mr. Wilcox and other members of the LGBTQ community mourned the loss of a place that’s been a pillar in the LGBT community for 30 years.
Founded in April, 1987 by the late Gregory Knott, Bretz was a place to dance and mingle and be free in a safe environment.
It was a safe haven that was often the first place that people who were coming out, or finding who they were, could go and feel like themselves and feel safe to express who they were.
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