Washington State Casino Break-In Leads to Theft of $12K in Chips

Posted on: April 30, 2021, 04:39h. 

Last updated on: April 30, 2021, 05:43h.

A man banned from a Washington State gaming property allegedly stole $12,500 worth of gaming chips during a break-in there earlier this week. He was disguised in a gray wig and wore a construction vest when entering ilani Casino Resort on Tuesday, police said.

The gaming property is operated by the Cowlitz Indian Tribe
A sign showing the High Limit area of ilani Casino Resort. The Washington State casino high-limit area was the site of a burglary. (Image: The Columbian)

Once inside the ilani Casino Resort, Lucas Bunn, 25, of Kelso, Wash., made his way to the high-limit area on the gaming floor. He allegedly used a drill to break into the table where the chips were held, the Associated Press reported.

The man ran away when security officers came near him, police said.  A responding Clark County, Wash. sheriff’s deputy also chased the man.

Later, Bunn was apprehended. Authorities used a stun gun to stop him, police said. Ridgefield police officers also took part in the chase.

The gaming property is operated by the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. It is near La Center, Washington, some 150 miles south of Seattle and 25 miles north of Portland, Ore.

Grinder, Grinding Wheels Discovered

Bunn had with him various tools. They included a Ryobi grinder and grinding wheels. He also had a construction vest and 25 $500 chips in his possession, police said. Police said they found a gray wig nearby.

Based on prior court records, Bunn was allegedly trespassing at the casino on Dec. 15. Since then, he returned to the gaming property twice or more, police said.

Burglary, Theft Charges

Bunn appeared in Clark County, Wash., Superior Court on Wednesday. He is charged with burglary and theft in connection with this week’s break-in.

Bail was set at $15,000. He is scheduled to return to the court on May 12, The Columbian, a local newspaper, reported.

Earlier Crimes at Washington State Casinos

Last year, in an unrelated incident, a 35-year-old Washington man was charged with domestic violence murder in the second degree for the October death of a 33-year-year woman outside the Tulalip Resort Casino.

Nomeneta Tauave got into a fight with his girlfriend, Hana Letoi, on Oct. 23. The couple started a screaming match inside the casino, but it continued outside in their silver GMC Yukon in the parking lot.

Security officers say the altercation turned violent, with Tauave allegedly punching and shaking Letoi violently. She fell out of the SUV as he sped off, eyewitnesses stated. Letoi was taken to the hospital, where she died two days later.

Last August, an unrelated fatal shooting took place at an Emerald Queen Casino garage in Tacoma, Wash. Puyallup Tribal Police were called after about seven or eight gunshots were heard.

A victim was found with multiple gunshot wounds. The victim was pronounced dead at the crime scene.