He walked into the Venetian casino in the early morning hours.
Thirty minutes later he walked out, unnoticed, with a plastic bag filled with $1.6 million in stolen chips.
Twenty-four hours later the casino discovered the theft.
And the unique earlobe of Akingide Cole eventually led the police to their suspect and Cole to jail.
Camera footage showed Cole entered the casino through an employee’s-only hallway located at the back of the casino. He then worked his way to an unguarded private gaming area where he found a locked box of chips just sitting on top of a blackjack table. With no one around, Cole took time trying to open the box. Unsuccessful, Cole left only to return a few minutes later, with a hammer, which he used to slam open the box. Cole then put almost 300 chips into the plastic bag – 36 $25,000 chips, 97 $5,000 chips and 152 $1,000 chips. Before leaving the casino he cashed nine of the $100 stolen chips.
When a casino employee discovered a discrepancy in the inventory, the casino discovered the theft. A Clark County Detention Center corrections officer recognized Cole when a photo taken from the surveillance video was distributed throughout the law enforcement community.
Two weeks later, a tip led authorities to Palmdale, California, where Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) officers questioned Cole and recovered almost $400 thousand of the stolen chips. California law enforcement officers arrested Cole on fugitive warrants for grand larceny, burglary and possession of burglary tools. Extradition of Cole to Nevada has begun, and the LVMPD are looking for the remaining stolen chips.
In early October in a Clark County District Court, Michael Quinn Belton of Nuevo, California was found guilty of felony robbery and conspiracy charges after a botched grab-and-run heist at the Bellagio casino. Belton received a two to five year sentence.
In Nevada, a conviction for either grand larceny or burglary can result in imprisonment for up to ten years and a fine up to $10 thousand.
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