The Real Las Vegas: Life beyond the Strip

By David Littlejohn; Eric Gran | Go to book overview

Law and Disorder Heather World

Gordon Dickie, director of security and surveillance at Harrah's Hotel and Casino, slides a video cassette into a VCR in his windowless basement office. When he presses "Play," the grainy black-and- white surveillance film of the casino's first and only armed robbery pops up on screen, with the date (4/24/94) and time (2:45 AM) noted in the corner.

The silent story of the robbery unfolds in a leap from camera to camera, each panning, tilting, and zooming to catch the action. The clip opens with a shot of the glass doors of a ground-level rear entrance, empty but brightly lit. Suddenly a dark minivan pulls up to the curb. Four young black men (later identified by police as members of the Las Vegas Crips) leap from the van. Seconds after the four men disappear from the camera's eye, the screen is filled with a shot of patrons running out the same doors.

The picture switches to inside the casino, where the four men run down aisles of slot machines and jump over the counter of the cage, where each day's working cash is kept. In the lower corner of one camera's view, one of the men waves a Colt .45 pistol, warning people away. Inside the cage, the robbery (more than $100,000 was taken) is performed over and over again, from every conceivable angle.

The camera pans to the man with the gun, who grabs a hostage. The image is fuzzy and dark, but clear enough to show the hostage being dragged along the floor until he is finally let go.

-243-

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The Real Las Vegas: Life beyond the Strip
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction - The Ultimate Company Town 1
  • Down and Out in Vegas 41
  • Bingo 63
  • Growing Up in Las Vegas 75
  • El Pueblo De Las Vegas 97
  • A View from West Las Vegas 109
  • Water for the Desert Miracle 133
  • For Sale - Thirty Thousand Homes a Year 147
  • Houses of the Holy 167
  • Organizing Las Vegas 181
  • Pawnshops - Lenders of Last Resort 201
  • Skin City 217
  • Law and Disorder Heather World 243
  • Why They'Re Mad - Southern Nevada Versus the United States 259
  • Epilogue - Learning More from Las Vegas 281
  • List of Illustrations 291
  • Notes on Contributors 293
  • Index 297
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