Casino Crime Blotter

Let's celebrate casino security and surveillance by logging the month's more unique instances of illegal activity in casinos

Casino Crime Blotter

It’s February, and that means one thing.

Well, it means a bunch of things, actually—from married men everywhere saying, “Oh, yeah! Valentine’s Day! Crap!” to the Super Bowl to ICE Totally Gaming in London, where gaming professionals are assured an extensive cardio workout traversing the Novomatic stand, which is normally the size of a small planet.

But here at GGB, the “one thing” I had in mind was our annual security and surveillance section, which you will find in this issue. Therefore, as I do just about every February, let’s celebrate casino security and surveillance by logging the month’s more unique instances of illegal activity in casinos, and the brave security and surveillance officials who battle it every day.

Our first story showcases the first line of defense against casino crime.

That’s right. Housekeeping.

A chambermaid at the Bear River Casino in Humboldt County, California (“The Heartland of High-Grade Marijuana Farming”) entered what was supposed to be an unoccupied room in the casino’s hotel and discovered a man asleep, cradling as his teddy bear a loaded semiautomatic pistol, along with an ounce of heroin and some methamphetamine.

The casino contacted police, who entered the room undetected and gently woke up 41-year-old John Augborne, and arrested him for felony possession of a controlled substance, outstanding felony warrants including a parole violation, trespassing, and theft of those little hotel soaps.

It is not known whether or not the chambermaid ended up getting a tip, but we’ll update you on this aspect of the story.

Speaking of meth, an Omaha man was arrested at the Ameristar Casino in Council Bluffs after video surveillance caught him dropping a Ziploc bag full of methamphetamine on the floor. The man was arrested and jailed, but the meth was undamaged, thanks to the locked-in freshness of the fine Ziploc product, which is “uniquely designed to help you save, store and organize.”

The perpetrator, John Lord (the meth dealer, not the late founder of Deep Purple), was arrested for possession of 28.6 grams of meth with intent to deliver, but it may as well have been for two counts of criminal stupidity. First, the guy brings a big bag of meth into a casino. He drops it on the floor, gets spooked and leaves. Then, he comes back in the morning looking for the bag. By that time, it had been found, and surveillance had matched his image on the video cameras with Lord’s driver’s license photo. He was nabbed immediately.

I’m trying to get inside this guy’s head. First of all, if you’re a meth dealer, I would think one of the first principles of business is to avoid selling your product in rooms with hundreds of video cameras.

Didn’t they teach him that in meth-dealer school?

Secondly, he dropped it and, evidently, realized it was recorded on video, and fled the scene. OK, a sliver of reasoned thought there. But returning to the scene the next day to retrieve the bag? That’s where he tumbles over the cliff at Idiot Pass and plunges into Imbecile Gorge.

It’s as if he reasoned that players and employees would see the Ziploc bag of meth laying there and say, “Oh, that’s not my meth. It belongs to someone.” I know they’re pretty mellow out there in Humboldt County, but come on.

Finally, Las Vegas police were summoned to the Palms Casino Resort to respond to a fight… Well, it wasn’t much of a fight, consisting as it did of singer Chris Brown punching a woman in the face.

Brown, who is a chart-topping R&B singer, performed at the casino that night, and hosted a private party in his suite afterward. A female fan apparently took the liberty of snapping a picture of the star with her cell-phone camera, and as any performer who loves his fans would do, Brown punched her in the eye and stole her phone.

She left and called police. By the time they got there, Brown was gone, and the woman did him the remarkable favor of not pressing charges.

Brown, the consummate gentleman, thanked her by taking to Instagram with a video in which he said, “Obviously, somebody looking to get a check or start some shit… I don’t know this old-looking bitch… She probably came to my room and was too ugly to get in.”

You know, I must admit I had never heard of the guy, because I’m not familiar with popular artists who have had hits since, say, 1973, but it’s nice to know that today’s artists conduct themselves with such class.

Someone should have called Housekeeping. They would have fixed him.

Frank Legato
Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the recently published book on gaming, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying.