Two days after a major theft of more than $6 million in casino chips by a dealer at the Wynn Macau, authorities reportedly have their man in custody. And along with him, an uncle who appears to have tried to benefit from the crime as well.
Announcement of the arrests came during a special press conference held on Friday, when a spokesperson for the gambling enclave’s Judiciary Police revealed the two men were arrested in connection with the crime.
The suspects now in custody were only identified by their surnames: Lei and Ho. While police remained tight-lipped about the location of the theft, Wynn Macau confirmed to Reuters and other news outlets that it had, in fact, been the target of the theft earlier this week.
Additionally, three Wynn Macau employees were arrested on Thursday after allegedly accessing casino security records and outing the suspect on social media apps. They were charged with “breaching judicial confidentiality.” All three could potentially face up to two years in prison for illegally sharing the data.
Wrong Kind of Action on the Felt
According to police, Lei had been working at the casino since 2009, and as a dealer since 2011. He was on duty at the Wynn Macau VIP club early Tuesday morning, at a time when there were no guests in the area.
At that point, Lei reportedly walked up to the only other staff member in the room. He demanded that she remain quiet and lay her upper body across her gaming table. He then took casino chips from the tray on his own table, throwing the chips and his uniform into a black bag. He then walked off the property and fled on a motorcycle.
During their investigation, authorities learned that Lei was planning to meet with the other arrestee, his uncle (Ho), on Thursday evening. Officers were there to do a sting at the meeting, and arrested them both. Police also said that they found about $10,000 in cash and chips on the two suspects. The Judiciary Police said that they could not rule out the possibility that some of the chips had already been cashed with the help of underground banks.
Gambling Debts Led to Poor Choices
Lei is reported to have admitted to committing the theft. He allegedly stole the chips because he was heavily in debt from gambling that went all the way back to his teens. He has not disclosed the dispensation of the remaining chips that were not found at the time of the arrests.
While casino heists are rare in Macau, they can involve large sums of money, and typically are committed by staff members with easy access to cash or chips. The last major incident occurred in 2016, when junket employees ran off with $12.75 million in cash from 10 different VIP rooms at various casinos.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas casinos have seen a rash of smaller robberies lately as well. At least four casinos on or near the Las Vegas Strip have been targeted this month, though the city’s Metro Police Department does not believe the crimes are connected to each other.