New Zealand Gaming Co. Gets Golden Nugget Roulette Wheel Back Thanks To Ruse

Posted on: December 20, 2021, 08:37h. 

Last updated on: December 21, 2021, 01:16h.

Thieves fell for a ruse that has allowed New Zealand’s Las Vegas Functions to recover merchandise stolen last week. Among the objects was an iconic roulette wheel that was previously part of the Golden Nugget’s ensemble in Vegas.

Detective Sergeant Don Fisher
Detective Sergeant Don Fisher of the Christchurch Police Department. The officer assisted in a sting that led to the recovery of stolen gambling equipment and the arrest of two individuals. (Image: Otago Daily Times)

If you’re going to steal something and try to sell it, it’s probably not a good idea to put it on an online sales site. However, thieves aren’t always known for their advanced intellect. Last week, someone broke into a trailer storing merchandise used by Las Vegas Functions for the company’s events. Among the items was an antique roulette wheel that has seen gaming action since the 1950s.

It may have seemed at the time that the one-of-a-kind piece would never be seen again. However, Debbie Williams, the company’s owner, had a bit of good luck. According to Stuff, she was searching the Internet for a replacement for the wheel, valued at over US$10,000, when she came across something that looked too familiar.

On the Trade Me auction website, Williams came across the roulette wheel stolen less than a week earlier. The thieves apparently didn’t think too far in advance.

Williams went to the police in order to ask for their help. However, she was told that they couldn’t step in, as they didn’t have enough resources. The department was too busy trying to keep COVID-19 from spreading, according to Williams.

Williams Spins Her Own Solution

After not finding support from the police, Williams took matters into her own hands. She hired a private investigator and, together, they hatched a scheme. They would try to purchase the roulette wheel and snare the thieves. They couldn’t do it without police help, though, and managed to find it before the sting went down.

Fortunately, no one out-bid Williams, and the ruse worked. This past Saturday, when Williams arranged to meet the sellers, police arrived in her place.

Detective Sergeant Don Fisher dutifully placed the errant criminals under arrest. One, a 38-year-old male, was charged with burglary. The other, a 41-year-old female, was charged with receiving stolen goods.

Williams Hits Jackpot

As a result of the sting, most of the merchandise previously pilfered was recovered. In addition to the roulette wheel, there were 150 fake golden credit cards, a blackjack shoe, and five playing card decks.

Williams said when the ordeal was over and the property had been returned.

“Feelings, well, I have gone through them all over the last seven days, with relief being the biggest one, followed by elation and awe that we actually managed to make it happen,” she said. “It felt like something out of a movie – very surreal.”

It’s a happy ending to a new Christmas story.