Las Vegas police have identified the casino heist suspect believed to be responsible for stealing $1.6 million in high-denomination chips from the Venetian resort earlier this month.
The man, identified as Akingide Cole, 31, of Palmdale, Calif., is wanted on suspicion of burglary grand larceny, and unlawful possession of burglary tools stemming from a heist that occurred around 6 a.m. on Oct. 10 at the Las Vegas Strip resort.
Police are seeking information on Cole's whereabouts. Authorities believe it is unlikely he will be able to redeem the high-value chips, which are usually circulated among a small group of high-rollers, the Associated Press reported on Monday.
"In any of these thefts of chips, it's very difficult to cash these in," Nevada Gaming Control Board Chief of Enforcement Jerry Markling told the AP. "Licensees generally know who their customers are."
Police did not divulge details, but they did say no weapon was involved, and the man didn't confront anyone during the incident.
Authorities described him as 6 feet tall and weighing about 225 pounds. He last had a goatee and short dark hair in a semi-mohawk, and police said he has a distinctive fibrous growth on his left earlobe.
Las Vegas is a large target for casino heists, and this successful robbery was a departure from two separate high-profile heists in recent months.
In May, two men wearing wigs walked up to a table at the Bellagio, pepper-sprayed a blackjack dealer and snatched $115,000 in chips. A casino supervisor tackled one of the men, identified as Michael Quinn Belton, and retrieved the 23 chips, worth $5,000 each, while the other man got away.
Belton, 25, of Nuevo, Calif., apologized in court earlier this month and was sentenced to two to five years in prison.
The second most-recent heist took place on Dec. 14, 2010 at the Bellagio, where a man, identified as Anthony Michael Carleo, waved a gun and made off with high-value chips worth $1.5 million. Carleo was eventually arrested trying to redeem a $25,000 chip, charged and sentenced to three to 11 years in state prison for armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.
My name is Carey Vanderborg and I'm a journalist working in New York City. I love food, travel, craft beer, live music and writing about all of the above.