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Man stole $1.6 million in chips from Las Vegas casino, police say

October 22, 2012 |  4:05 pm

Akingide ColeWhat happens in Vegas doesn't always stay there.

Authorities are looking for a Palmdale man who they believe went into a restricted area of the Venetian casino and stole $1.6 million in high-value chips, Las Vegas police said Monday. 

The suspect, identified as Akingide Cole, 31, allegedly took the chips just after 6 a.m. on Oct. 10, authorities said. He's now wanted on suspicion of grand larceny, burglary and possession of burglary tools, Officer Laura Meltzer said.

Cole didn't use a weapon in the alleged incident and didn't come in contact with any witnesses or security guards, Meltzer said. Casino security cameras captured the incident and investigators used the images to identify Cole as their suspect given his "very distinct" appearance, she added.

Cole has what police described as a "large fibrous growth" on his left earlobe. He was also previously arrested by Las Vegas police in 2011 for possession of a controlled substance, Meltzer said.

But the chances of the suspect cashing in on the theft are slim, said Jerry Markling, chief of the Nevada Gaming Commission's enforcement division. High-value chips are typically circulated among a small group of top players known by casinos.

"It'd be fairly difficult to cash in high-denomination chips simply because most of the licensees know who their players are who receive those types of chips," he said. "Anybody just can't walk up to a cage window and cash in a $1,000 or $5,000 chip."

Casinos also have more than one set of chips that can be used after a theft, Markling said. If someone tried to play with a different-styled chip, he would stand out, making it "that much more difficult" for thieves.

Police described Cole as a 6-foot-tall, 225-pound black man who has a goatee and short dark hair styled in a "semi-mohawk."

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— Kate Mather

Follow Kate Mather on Twitter or Google+.

Photo: Akingide Cole. Credit: Las Vegas Police Department

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