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Man charged in theft of Las Vegas casino chips

LAS VEGAS — A man suspected of sneaking into a restricted area of the Venetian resort and stealing $1.6 million in casino chips was arrested in Southern California, Las Vegas police said Tuesday.

Authorities credited media attention about the case for a tip that led them to Palmdale resident Akingide Cole, 31.

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Deputies from the San Bernardino and Los Angeles county sheriff’s offices took Cole into custody on Oct. 24, near his mother’s home.

Cole was being sought for investigation of grand larceny, burglary, and possession of burglary tools, and is expected to be extradited to Nevada. He is listed at a Los Angeles jail, but jail officials did not immediately respond to requests seeking to determine if he has an attorney.

Police did not disclose exactly how the theft at the Las Vegas Strip resort occurred, but they said no weapon was involved, and the suspect did not confront anyone during the incident about 6 a.m. Oct. 10.

Las Vegas police detectives who traveled to California during the investigation said they recovered about $396,000 in chips. Investigators are probably working on tracking the other missing chips, Officer Laura Meltzer said.

It was unlikely anyone would have been able to redeem all the stolen, high-value chips, which are usually circulated among a small group of high-rollers, said Jerry Markling, the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s chief of enforcement.

Casinos typically have a second, differently styled set of chips that can be put into circulation after a theft, Markling said. That way, someone trying to play with stolen chips would stand out.

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