A thousand pounds of dynamite
May 19, 2017 12:15 AM   Subscribe

Big John was going to extort a million dollars from Harvey’s Wagon Wheel Casino in Lake Tahoe, and he planned to do it by building a bomb.
posted by Rumple (21 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
The core story is interesting, but wow does that article need a dispassionate editor with a ready pair of scissors.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:47 AM on May 19 [4 favorites]


Previously
posted by ill3 at 1:30 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]


This whole story is like toxic masculinity bingo.
Beats his kids? Check
Definitely killed his first wife? Check
Repeatedly accused said wife of cheating while he cheats himself? Check
Builds a fucking bomb? Check
At least (besides his poor wife) he didn't kill anyone, and died in prison.
It's an interesting story- but woof, it's a familiar one.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:30 AM on May 19 [3 favorites]


That story had a lot of moustaches.
posted by dortmunder at 4:27 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]


OMG, I was there when this happened, I worked across the street at Caesar's Palace.
posted by chocolatetiara at 4:48 AM on May 19 [5 favorites]


THE WRITER THUNDERED into the dark heart of the story, his face illuminated only by the purble glow of the adjectives...
posted by Devonian at 5:19 AM on May 19 [18 favorites]




That story had a lot of moustaches.
"A diligent anthropologist seeking the embodiment of a certain kind of California lifestyle at the end of the 1970s"
posted by zamboni at 6:15 AM on May 19


A bit of an aside: in the history of crime, has ransom/extortion/hostage exchange ever ended with the perpetrators getting away with their money/demands? At some point, one to realize that you're always going to walk into a trap while carrying out these acts.
posted by dr_dank at 7:00 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]


Good podcast version here.
posted by signal at 7:13 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]


A bit of an aside: in the history of crime, has ransom/extortion/hostage exchange ever ended with the perpetrators getting away with their money/demands? At some point, one to realize that you're always going to walk into a trap while carrying out these acts.

Yes, when organized crime syndicates do it. Italy's Mafia and N'Drangheta, China's Triad. Japan's Yakuza. All have conducted successful extortion schemes. Also see the Chickens and the Bulls extortion ring that successfully targeted gay American men in the '50's and '60's.
posted by zarq at 7:32 AM on May 19 [6 favorites]


Arguably, D.B. Cooper, although some of the money was later found; it's not even clear whether the recovered money was dropped or buried, and none of the other bills have turned up in circulation.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:38 AM on May 19 [4 favorites]


A bit of an aside: in the history of crime, has ransom/extortion/hostage exchange ever ended with the perpetrators getting away with their money/demands?

Ransomware.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:56 AM on May 19 [4 favorites]


has ransom/extortion/hostage exchange ever ended with the perpetrators getting away with their money/demands?

Frank Sinatra Jr. -- is that a roll of dimes in your pocket or are you just happy your son isn't kidnapped?
posted by pracowity at 8:17 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]


A bit of an aside: in the history of crime, has ransom/extortion/hostage exchange ever ended with the perpetrators getting away with their money/demands?

DB Cooper?
posted by drezdn at 8:36 AM on May 19


jinx
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:11 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]


It's kind of interesting to me that after the potential blast radius was clear, once they realized how intricate it was, they didn't just blow it up on purpose instead of by accident. By having the bomb experts, they were really risking the lives of their officers in order to protect property.
posted by drezdn at 11:21 AM on May 19


blow it up on purpose instead of by accident.

In that end, that's kind of what they did. Seems like the thinking was, here's the one way that we might disable it, and if it doesn't disable it it's all going to go. In their minds there was at least a chance that it would work and leave some evidence. Although upon reflection if the shape charge did its thing and didn't trigger the rest, boy howdy I wouldn't have wanted to be the one to deal with the "disabled" device.
posted by achrise at 12:23 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]


Yeah, this one seems to be a perennial favourite. I first heard it on Futility Closet (link goes to a page with extra goodies).
posted by maudlin at 2:32 PM on May 19


A bit of an aside: in the history of crime, has ransom/extortion/hostage exchange ever ended with the perpetrators getting away with their money/demands?

I'm not sure how you could ever get meaningful numbers on this. People who paid ransom aren't going to advertise it lest they be pegged as easy marks.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:00 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: you could have used a car's headlight to drain the batteries.
posted by mule98J at 10:28 AM on May 21


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