I was entering the lobby of the Claridge from the side door one evening when I saw one guy bump a lady and, when she turned to see who had bumped her, I saw a second guy come up from behind her, open her purse, and take out her wallet. All this happened so fast that, as I opened my mouth to shout ?Watch Out!? -- the two of them were at the front door on ?Watch? and into the night on ?Out!?
I ran to the front door, exited, and looked to see where they were headed but they were gone...vanished into wherever evil vanishes. When I reentered the lobby, the lady didn?t know what had happened until I told her that some crooks had grabbed her wallet from her purse. ?I didn?t feel anything,? she lamented. ?How did it happen?? I explained how this duo operated. ?One guy bumped you and one guy robbed you.? She filed a report.
One day on the boardwalk outside Trump?s Plaza in Atlantic City, the Captain saw an elderly woman who was crying. He went up to her to see what was the matter. She told him that she had just come from the ladies? room in the casino where her pocketbook was stolen while she was in the stall. ?I hung it up on the door and this hand reached over and just took it,? she told the Captain. She screamed but whoever had relieved her of her purse was quick as a deer and was long gone by the time anyone knew what had transpired. ?I had just won $500, too,? she lamented. ?I?m 82 years old,? she said, ?my husband?s deceased, my children are all moved away, and this is the best luck I?ve had in years.? Then she cried some more. The Captain had his limo take her to her home in Brooklyn.
In Las Vegas, several blocks north from today?s Stratosphere Tower (then Vegas World), my wife, the beautiful A.P., and I had taken our clothes to a laundromat to be cleaned. We walked from the Sahara, where we were staying, and dropped the clothes off at the laundromat, and started to walk back. Now, this was during a time when A.P. had decided to make all of our clothing and we were wearing matching print shirts and we just looked so damned cute in our matching outfits. Two huge bruisers sleepy-eyed us as we passed them. From years of living in New York my antennae went up.
I thought we might be in trouble because we looked so damned cute in our matching print outfits; cute enough to be the perfect mugging victims. So I did what I always do when I think someone might mean me harm, I turned and looked them square in the eyes -- and then I knew we were in trouble! These guys started towards us, they were maybe 30 feet away. I whispered to A.P. to run across the street (Las Vegas Blvd.) when I gave the signal. I waited for the cars that had been stopped at the light to get to a certain point and then when they did, I gave A.P. a subtle signal -- ?Run!? I shouted -- and we ran like hell across the street. The brutes tried to run after us but the cars came and prevented them. We kept running until we reached the Sahara.
The above incidents are not that strange for Atlantic City, Las Vegas or any other venue where gambling attracts those of us who wish to fleece Fortune and those of them who wish to fleece us. In fact, such incidents are not strange for any popular tourist venue, multiple theatre complex or large shopping mall for that matter. Yet, some casino games and some casino-hotel locales lend themselves much more readily to criminals preying upon us than do others.
Gaming readers get great advice in handling the various games in the casino, but rarely do we get good advice about how to handle the variety of games criminals might play upon us in and out of the casinos. Considering that there are two ways to lose your money in a casino: One, by having bad luck when the casino?s edge defeats you, and two, by having even worse luck when some criminal steals whatever money you might have won after you had good luck, here are 25 ways to protect us (the good guys) against them (the bad guys).
Some casino games and some casino-hotel locales lend themselves much more readily to criminals preying upon us than do others. Gaming readers get great advice in handling the various games in the casino, but rarely do we get good advice about how to handle the variety of games criminals might play upon us in and out of the casinos. Considering that there are two ways to lose your money in a casino: One, by having bad luck when the casino?s edge defeats you, and two, by having even worse luck when some criminal steals whatever money you might have won after you had good luck, here are 25 ways to protect us (the good guys) against them (the bad guys).
1. Pocket Watch. In a casino, men, you should never keep your wallets in your back pockets. Get a shirt with a pocket in front that buttons and keep your money in there. Some savvy craps players even keep a ?dummy? wallet in their back pockets. The Captain does this. He keeps his money in his front shirt pocket, double-buttoned, but he has a nice big, fat wallet in his back pocket as well. He figures that if he?s confronted by a thief inside a casino, the thief will automatically go for the wallet, get it and run. If the Captain?s wallet is stolen, the criminal finds himself with shredded paper instead of big bills and a note that reads: ?Why don?t you get a real job, creep??
2. Purse Position. In a casino, women, never put your purse on the floor, or on the drink shelf that surrounds the craps table at thigh level, or between slot machines. Doing so is an invitation to long-armed thieves. Keep your purse wrapped securely around your shoulder. Some blackjack tables now come equipped with a ?purse holder? that fits into the space between the felt and the cushion. You can wrap your purse strings around it and anyone trying to take it will have to steal the entire table as well. Or keep your purse on your lap covered by your arm, or keep it in your hands. The bottom line is to make the thief realize that it is going to take quite an effort to dislodge you from your purse.
3. Strapped for Cash. Women, for casino, hotel and tourist purposes get a small pocketbook that you double strap to your shoulder whenever you go for a stroll. In fact, if you have a coat, always keep your purse under your coat so that any would-be purse snatcher has to get through the coat first. Wrap the straps around your arm twice. By double strapping your purse, anyone who tries to take it will have to take you with it. The beautiful A.P.?s Aunt Katherine has an odd ploy that she has developed to confuse would-be purse snatchers. She usually carries three pocketbooks! The purse snatcher only has a one in three chance of getting the right one and the right one is usually under her coat!
4. Chip Arrangements. Craps players of either sex: when you arrange your chips in the rack in front of you, do so as the casino does -- put your highest denomination chips in the center, your lowest on the ends, and everything else in between. Always ask for $10 worth of one dollar chips and put five on one end and five on the other end. If you have two racks, ask for $20 and put five and five, five and five. Railbirds -- which is what those predators are called who try to steal chips from unsuspecting craps players usually while the player is shooting -- take the chips that are on the outside. It is very difficult to remove chips in the center of the chip rack as these are tightly bunched together and right in front of you. Chances are railbirds won?t be interested in your dollar chips and will move on. Blackjack players, you should put small-denomination chips on top of large-denomination chips. This will prevent ?palmers? from being able to get to the big money when they distract you.
5. Beware the Watchers. Don?t let strangers watch the game from over your shoulder. For example, craps is a game that normally attracts onlookers. But if someone is getting too close to you, just ask the floorperson to tell the individual to move back. Usually thieves don?t like to have any attention paid to them and they will quickly move on. Alerting the floorperson will also give you a pair of eyes that can look the folks behind you square in the face.
Next issue: 8 more Ways to Protect Yourself
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