Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Top 10 The Notable Crimes in Las Vegas History

By Tram Anh Mar 13, 2024

10 Arson

In addition to being the home of some of the most horrifying crimes in the city, the Las Vegas Hilton is well-known for hosting big-name performers like Elvis Presley and Liberace. Philip Cline had only been working as a busboy at the hotel for two days when an eighth-floor elevator lobby nearby caught fire. He claimed to have thrown water on the fire from a nearby wastebasket, alarming a few of the attendees. After Cline made a Freudian slip and told the police he had “grabbed a trash can and filled it with fire,” investigators became suspicious. Homicide detectives questioned Cline further about his story until he broke down. The fire consumed much of the building, killing eight people and injuring 200 more. Although he acknowledged that he started the fire, he insisted that it was an accident, caused by the joint he was smoking igniting some drapes nearby. When they couldn’t reproduce a fire starting in the same way, investigators began to mistrust that version of events. Cline was found guilty of eight counts of murder and one count of arson and given a life sentence. Later, when he was interviewed in a jailhouse, he opened up about the true events of the fire day. He was given a PCP-laced joint by a friend before work, with a warning not to smoke the entire thing at once. Ignoring this instruction, Cline set fire to several draperies with his cigarette lighter while in a lethargy caused by PCP. It is anticipated that he will spend the remainder of his days in prison.

9 Shoplifting Massacre

Recent years have seen a surge in mass shootings around the country, and Las Vegas is not exempt from this scourge. A 12-gauge shotgun was carried by 23-year-old ex-Marine Zane Floyd as he made his way two blocks to a neighbouring Albertson’s supermarket early on June 3, 1999. Floyd killed three additional employees while prowling the store and shooting one worker close to a line of shopping trolleys at the entrance.

Later, surveillance footage surfaced, revealing Floyd pursuing Zachary Emenegger, his final victim, before shooting him twice—once in the back and again while he lay on the ground. Even though Emenegger was critically hurt, he thought it would be preferable to pretend to be dead. After shooting everyone he could locate in the business, Floyd attempted to escape on foot but the police had the building surrounded. He then circled back to the still Emenegger and said, “Yeah, you’re dead.” Floyd threatened to commit suicide while he stood outside the store with a gun to his head, resulting in a standoff. Floyd was ultimately convinced to turn himself in by the police, and he was found guilty of four charges of murder in addition to the earlier that morning rape of an exotic dancer. He is presently awaiting execution on Nevada’s death row. Law enforcement uses this horrific event as a teaching tool to help the public understand how to react in the event of a mass shooting. Experts advise escaping, fighting, or hiding from an assailant; however, if none of those strategies work, the best course of action is to pretend to be dead, much like Arnold Emenegger did.

8 The Motorcycle Bandit

Some of the most extensively monitored locations in the world are the casinos that line the Las Vegas strip. Because of this, relatively few people are robbed, and those that are are typically caught very quickly. One of the most audacious casino robberies in the city’s annals, this one nearly went unnoticed. On December 14, 2010, a man parked his motorbike in front of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino and entered. The man approached a craps table, still sporting his motorbike helmet, and produced a gun. The robber made escape with $1.5 million in chips, but it would prove to be his doom. The dealer turned up his chips, and the burglar raced back through the casino, speeding off on his bike into the busy street. Either the chips would need to be sold to a third party or handed in to the casino. A few weeks after the theft, the first piece of information was discovered when a Salvation Army bell ringer attempted to cash in a $25,000 chip that a stranger had given him. Not too long after, an individual going by the name of Biker Bandit surfaced on the internet, attempting to sell further $25,000 worth of chips. After getting in touch with the Biker Bandit, undercover Las Vegas cops set up a meeting at the Bellagio to purchase the chips. Anthony Carleo, 29, was apprehended by police and accused with robbing the store. It wasn’t until after his arrest that the Biker Bandit’s entire degree of brazenness was revealed. It turned out that Carleo was a visitor at the Bellagio when he carried out the heist, and he even went back to the establishment to partake in alcohol and gambling later. Three weeks prior to the Bellagio robbery, he had already robbed another casino, taking off with $18,000. And as a last surprise, Carleo was also a local judge’s son. Carleo was found guilty of the Biker Bandit offences and was given a sentence ranging from three to eleven years.

7 Al Bramlet Murder

Al Bramlet, the leader of the Las Vegas Culinary Worker Local 226 union, possessed more authority than any gangster or casino owner in the city from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. Almost every waiter, maid, and dishwasher in the city’s hotels is represented by Local 226—one of the most influential unions in the country—due to the overwhelming quantity of service employment in Las Vegas. But Bramlet’s strength came not just from his ability to discipline his followers but also from his viciousness and willingness to use force to get what he wanted. As the union’s leader, Bramlet brought nearly all of the town’s service workers under his union’s leadership. But Bramlet did not stop at enticing companies to join a union through picketing. Bramlet’s downfall was sown on a night in January 1977 when bombs he had ordered placed in front of two restaurants failed to explode and were discovered by the police. In December 1975, two bombs went off on the roof of a non-union gourmet restaurant in west Las Vegas, and another high-end restaurant was destroyed by a bomb in January 1976. When Bramlet refused to pay Thomas and Gramby Hanley, the father and son hit men he hired to bomb the restaurants, they were outraged and started planning their retribution. The Hanleys were aware that Bramlet always carried a.357 revolver. But Bramlet travelled outside the city for work on a regular basis, so when he got off the plane at the airport, that was one location he could be certain to be unarmed. When Bramlet returned from a trip to Reno on February 22, 1977, the Hanleys approached him at McCarran International Airport and forced him into their van at gunpoint. The Hanleys then asked Bramlet to arrange the payment for the bombs, telling him he would be released once they were paid. When the van came to a stop at a pay phone, Bramlet used it to speak with a manager at the Desert Inn Casino and set up a $10,000 loan to reimburse his kidnappers. Bramlet answered the phone, and the van drove off into the middle of the desert, where Tom Hanley shot Bramlet six times. Hikers found his corpse three weeks later. The father-son hit team received life sentences after a criminal associate of the Hanleys gave evidence to the authorities about their involvement in Bramlet’s murder. In 1995, a federal court ordered the union to enter into a consent decree that placed it under external supervision to ensure transparency. Remaining one of the strongest unions in the nation even now, Culinary Workers Local 226 is largely responsible for keeping the wages of the service employees that keep Las Vegas operating well above the national average.

6 Steve Wynn’s Daughter Abducted


The billionaire owners of the casinos that dominate the Las Vegas strip are these individuals. Because of their wealth, they may become desirable targets for thieves looking to make a fast buck, along with their family. On July 26, 1993, Steve Wynn, the CEO of the company that owns Treasure Island and the Bellagio, received a call after returning from work from a man claiming that his daughter had been abducted. It turned out that Wynn’s 26-year-old daughter, Kevyn, had been taken by two armed men from her opulent home in a posh neighbourhood in Las Vegas. When Wynn informed the kidnappers that $1.45 million was all the money he had on hand that evening, they agreed to pay the $2.5 million ransom demanded by the abductors. After extracting the cash from the casino vault, Wynn placed it in a white plastic bag and parked his automobile a short distance away from the strip. Wynn was informed by the kidnappers that he could locate his daughter at McCarran International Airport after they had collected the money. The police got their break just one day after the kidnapping when Ray Cuddy, the manager of a sporting club, entered a car dealership in Newport Beach, California, and attempted to pay for a new Ferrari with $200,000 in cash. Wynn discovered his daughter tied up, but safe, in a car in the airport parking lot. The FBI was waiting for Cuddy when he returned to the dealership a few days later to complete the deal. Jacob Sherwood, Cuddy’s accomplice, was also taken into custody not long after Cuddy was. Both men received lengthy sentences in federal prison after being found guilty of numerous counts pertaining to the kidnapping; nonetheless, you might believe that Cuddy and Sherwood got off lightly after reading the following account.

5 Ted Binion’s Plotabuse Kidnapping

This tale concerns another kidnapping attempt using a casino owner’s child, but the intended abductors selected the least desirable prisoner. In the 1930s, Benny Binion began operating a string of gambling saloons in Texas. During that period, he confessed to shooting a rival businessman and was under suspicion for multiple additional killings. In the late 1960s, Las Vegas taxi driver Marvin Shumate devised a scheme to get rich quick by holding the child of a casino owner ransom. His target was Benny Binion’s 24-year-old son Ted Binion. Binion arrived in Las Vegas in the 1940s and founded the Horseshoe Casino, home of the World Series of Poker. We can only speculate as to whether Shumate really wanted to die, or if he was just that naive to decide to abduct the daughter of a traditionalista and a confessed killer with ties to organised crime. Ted Binion’s friend Shumate’s son was supposed to provide the information needed to kidnap and hold Ted Binion as a ransom. Another taxi driver was enlisted in Shumate’s plot, but he withdrew when Shumate informed him that killing Ted would be necessary to escape punishment for the crime. Shumate went straight to old man Binion about the conspiracy rather than calling the police. Shumate’s body was discovered one morning in December 1967 on a mountaintop overlooking Las Vegas. He had taken one revolver bullet to the head and a shotgun blast to his chest. Although no one was ever prosecuted for Shumate’s murder, the FBI and police believed the evidence pointed to Benny Binion as the person who had given the order. Ted Binion, on the other hand, would eventually be discovered deceased in 1998 under suspicious circumstances. In a nationally publicised trial, his live-in girlfriend and best friend were accused of his murder; however, they were both found not guilty after an appeal.

4 O.J._Simpson_(1986) Sports Memorabilia Heist

We are all familiar with O.J. Simpson from his days as a professional football player, his comedic acting appearances, and that entire trial surrounding the murders of his ex-wife and her lover. Simpson faced financial difficulties after the families of the murder victims obtained a multimillion dollar civil judgement against him, even though he was cleared of all charges of murder. These financial difficulties ultimately led to Simpson’s imprisonment. In 2007, the majority of Simpson’s earnings were still being withheld to satisfy his civil judgements when he got a call from Thomas Riccio, the owner of an auction house, telling him that two sports memorabilia dealers were going to be selling a number of items that had previously belonged to Simpson in Las Vegas. Simpson and the memorabilia dealers met with Riccio in a hotel room approximately one mile away from the strip. However, none of the other guests in the room realised that Riccio had secretly placed a little tape recorder on a dresser. When Simpson and his five companions got to the hotel room, some of them started pointing guns. While Simpson collected several hundred pieces of memorabilia from the merchants, he gave his friends orders to keep everyone inside the room. The heist was over in six minutes, and when the police questioned Simpson, he claimed that no one in his entourage had a gun during the incident and that he was simply trying to recover items that had been stolen from his house years earlier. Simpson and his friends were later caught laughing about their exploits over dinner, but Simpson would not be laughing for long. However, after the robbery’s audio tape surfaced and a number of Simpson’s accomplices consented to testify on behalf of the prosecution in exchange for reduced sentences, Simpson’s story began to unravel. Simpson pursued a trial instead of accepting a plea offer that would have resulted in a two to five year prison sentence. Following several weeks of testimony, Simpson was found guilty of kidnapping and armed robbery and given a 33-year jail sentence. It merely goes to demonstrate that you typically only receive one free pass to avoid arrest or prison over your lifetime.

3 Jessica Williams

DUIs don’t usually rank among the most notable crimes, but this story stands out because of the debate surrounding the use of marijuana in DUI prosecutions. Jessica Williams, a 21-year-old exotic dancer, came to an end on March 19, 2000, while trekking outside of Las Vegas. Williams’s minivan crashed off the motorway and destroyed a group of kids who were cleaning up the side of the road as a kind of punishment for minor infractions while they were driving back to the city. Six teens were dead when the van came to a stop. Williams told authorities that she had fallen asleep at the wheel and acknowledged using ecstasy twelve hours earlier. She also acknowledged ingesting a few hits of marijuana around two hours before the accident. Williams gave the impression that she was alert to the police and paramedics, but her blood tests revealed that she had more marijuana metabolites than was permitted, leading to the allegation of vehicular manslaughter for driving under the influence. Even after a person stops experiencing the effects of marijuana, the drug’s metabolites can linger in their system for up to 30 days. During Williams’ trial, she maintained that she had not slept for the previous 24 hours and that fatigue, not the marijuana, was the reason she fell asleep at the wheel. Williams was given a 48-year jail term after the jury found her guilty of having more marijuana metabolites in her blood at the time of the accident despite Williams’ insistence that she was not inebriated. Williams was found guilty of DUI in Nevada even though they were not drunk when they drove since the law under which he was found guilty stays in effect.

2 The Car Bombing at Coulthard

This list features casino magnate Benny Binion once more, but this time, he is a main suspect in a blatant murder case involving the ownership of a downtown casino. Since relocating to Las Vegas in 1946, Bill Coulthard has been a mainstay in the city. He was the first head of the FBI’s Las Vegas field office and an agent of the agency. Coulthard rose to prominence as an attorney and businessman upon his retirement from the Bureau. He owned a portion of the land on which the Horseshoe Casino was built, among other economic ventures. The negotiations over the lease took a deadly turn on 25 July 1972, when Coulthard left his downtown office and got into his car on the third floor of an adjacent parking garage. Benny Binion had spent his entire life building the Horseshoe, and his lease was about to expire. Coulthard refused obstinately to renew it. The bomb that Coulthard detonated when he turned on the ignition quickly killed him, burned many surrounding cars, and gouged a hole in the garage’s concrete floor. The FBI and Las Vegas police were investigating, and they were offering a reward of $75,000 for information that led to the killers. Despite following several leads, no one was eventually taken into custody for the murder, and the investigation is still ongoing. The fact that the surviving landlords signed a 100-year lease allowing Benny Binion to continue owning the Horseshoe after Coulthard’s death provided credence to the FBI’s theory that Binion was probably the one who ordered the kill.

1 The Gang From Hole in the Wall

Possibly the most infamous mob enforcer in Las Vegas history is Tony “The Ant” Spilotro. Spilotro was the person mob bosses nationwide relied on for the majority of the 1970s and 1980s to safeguard their millions of dollars’ worth of investments in strip casinos. Spilotro was the man paid to kill informants and troublemakers, but he was also ambitious and started his own independent criminal business. He assembled a group of men who committed a wave of crimes in Las Vegas, including ex-cops and professional thieves. The organisation, which went under the name “The Hole in the Wall Gang,” was primarily known for its high-end burglaries, which generally targeted jewellery stores. They also committed loan sharking and robbed local drug dealers. Actually, the group’s method of breaking through security systems by busting a hole in the walls or ceilings of the establishments they looted gave rise to its term. The majority of the items pilfered by the gang were conveniently fenced off at Spilotro’s jewellery business, the Gold Rush. The gang was busted in July 1981 when six of its members were apprehended while breaking into a high-end furniture store. The jury was unable to return a conviction on Spilotro’s charges by the federal government for offences connected to the Hole in the Wall Gang. Spilotro’s intended retry would draw unwelcome attention to his operations, which infuriated his supervisors back in Chicago. Additionally, Spilotro had been having an affair with the wife of prominent Las Vegas mob boss Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal; this culminated in an attempted assassination of Rosenthal in 1983, which Spilotro is suspected of being behind. In June 1986, just before his retrial, Spilotro was called back to Chicago, bringing with him his brother Michael, another enforcer in the mob. The brothers were met by a gang of mafia hit men as they travelled to a remote Indiana house for a business meeting. The brothers Spilotro were assaulted and strangled, and their bodies were interred in a cornfield close by. Regarding the remaining members of the Hole in the Wall Gang, a number of them received lengthy prison sentences for burglary and racketeering offences, while some of them suffered the same end as the Spilotros. The adventures of Spilotro were portrayed in the 1995 film Casino, starring Joe Pesci in a dead-on performance as the irascible mafia enforcer.

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