How the media helped the Bellagio bandit

Illustration: Chris Morris

A guy wearing a jumpsuit and a motorcycle helmet robbed a Bellagio craps table of $1.5 million in chips last week, but you probably heard about that already. And then heard about it again ... and again. The media actually might have helped out the thief, says local gaming protection expert Jason England. “By and large, these criminals are not bright. If it weren’t for all the news stories saying how hard it’s going to be for this guy to cash these chips, he probably would have tried to cash them by now.” England’s right; when the AP writes, “Authorities will be looking out for anyone trying to cash high-denomination chips at the posh Bellagio resort,” you have to think they’ve sounded an alarm even the densest criminal would heed. “Obviously,” says England, “the guy probably wasn’t going to waltz in with $1.5 million at one time. But, my guess is, he would have tried to do $2,000, $3,000 or $4,000 at a time. We’re not dealing with Danny Ocean here.” At best, this guy could sell his chips to some other criminal for 10 cents on the dollar. Or maybe he could find a “built in” Bellagio player (a known high roller) to try to cash the chips for him. Of course, he risks being turned in by anyone he approaches. And considering that the chips could be marked, what this guy probably “got away” with is an armed robbery prosecution waiting to happen.


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