Police seeking suspect in Venetian chip heist - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Police seeking suspect in Venetian chip heist

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Akingide Cole was suspected of taking chips from the Venetian Casino. Police provided a booking photo of Cole from a previous arrest. (LVMPD) Akingide Cole was suspected of taking chips from the Venetian Casino. Police provided a booking photo of Cole from a previous arrest. (LVMPD)

Las Vegas Metro police released the identity of a man suspected of taking $1.6 million in chips from a Strip casino earlier this month.

Akingide Cole, 31, of Palmdale, CA, is believed to be the man captured on security video at the Venetian Casino and Hotel during the theft on Oct. 10, police said.

According to Metro, a person resembling Cole entered a closed part of the casino and removed a number of high denomination chips of different values about 6 a.m. that day. They said he was able to pry open a case holding the chips using a tool he might have taken from a private employee area.

Police said no weapon was used and there was no confrontation with employees or guests.

"Anybody that comes back to the casino to try and cash the chips in or tries to play them will be met by security, and an investigation will ensue," Lt. Robert Duvall, with Metro's Tourist Crimes Unit, said.

Lt. Duvall said it's still unclear if Cole worked alone, but a few people have already tried to cash in some of the stolen chips. They have been interviewed, but so far no arrests have been made.

Director of the Center for Gaming Research at UNLV, David Schwartz, says it's not easy to cash in high-denomination chips.

"If you are playing on that level, you usually have credit and they know you pretty well. So it's more difficult to turn in say a $10,000 chip than it would be to cash in a $25 chip," Schwartz said.

A representative for the Venetian says the property believes the total redeemable value for the stolen chips is only about $10,000.

"It's definitely not like stealing cash, which you can spend anywhere. There's pretty much one place on earth where you can cash these chips in, and that's from the people who have video of you stealing it," Schwartz added.

Police described Cole as a light-skinned black man, about 6' tall and about 225 pounds.

He sported a short hair style in a semi-mohawk and a goatee. Police noted Cole has a large fibrous growth on his left earlobe.

He was last seen wearing a gray jacket, black shirt with a green print tie and blue jeans.

Police also released a booking photo of Cole from a previous arrest.

Police urge anyone with information on Cole or the incident to call Metro's Tourist Crimes Unite at 702-828-3204 or Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.

Copyright 2012 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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