Everything has steadily been going downhill for the suspected chip thief caught in California this week, for whom there is almost no doubt at all of a guilty charge once he goes to court. After being caught on CCTV when he broke into the Venetian on the 10th of October and stole $1.6 million of chips, a nationwide manhunt had been underway to track down the man who was identified as Akingide Cole – who, experts say, would not even have been able to sell the chips on, since they were such high value that only VIPs and high rollers would normally use them.
Police are now saying that it was the media exposure that led to the arrest of Cole outside his mother’s home in Southern California, presumably after he was recognised by someone in the area or his name was seen on the news by neighbours. Extradition hearings will be underway soon, and Cole is being charged with grand larceny, burglary, and possession of burglary tools for his theft at the Las Vegas casino. Officer Laura Meltzer, representing the Las Vegas Police, told reporters that they have managed to recover almost $400,000 of the chips, and they are still tracking down the rest in order to return them to the Venetian where they belong.
It is unclear how Cole thought he could use the chips once he had them – only high rollers use them, and casinos remember their high rollers. He could not stroll up to any slot machine games or card tables once his face was all over the news, and even then there is a strong policy in place to deal with thefts: the casino simply changed the colour of chips that they were circulating, meaning that anyone trying to use the stolen chips would stand out immediately. In recent months other high profile attacks in Las Vegas have included two men who pepper sprayed a blackjack dealer and stole the chips, one of whom was immediately apprehended, and a man with a gun sticking a dealer up but getting caught using the chips.