A Florida woman told police she was just trying to “blow off steam” after she was arrested for sending a bomb threat to the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Tampa.
The woman, identified by local media as Adele Belizaire, 54, lost $380 playing slots at the casino on Tuesday evening. At 9.30 pm, she returned to her hotel room in Clearwater Beach and phoned the Casino to tell them she had placed a bomb on the premises.
The casino was evacuated, no threat was found, and police began their investigation. It didn’t take them long because Belizaire used her own cell phone to place the call.
By 4.30 am Wednesday morning, law enforcement had found Belizaire. Shortly after, she was arrested and charged with the second-degree felony of making a false report about planting a bomb, explosive, or weapon of mass destruction.
Under Florida law, if convicted, she could face up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
“The police department from the casino contacted us, and we worked with them to identify Belizaire and confirm where she was staying,” said a police statement from the Clearwater Police Department.
“She was subsequently arrested early Wednesday and booked into the Pinellas County Jail on a charge of making a false report about planting a bomb, explosive or weapon of mass destruction. She said she just wanted to ‘blow off steam’ by making the threat and didn’t have the ability to place a bomb there. She remains in jail this morning,” the statement finished.
This is the third time in just over a month that a US casino has been involved in a bomb threat incident.
At the end of April, a Louisiana security guard was charged over two bomb threats to his place of work, the Horseshoe Bossier City Hotel & Casino. The suspect’s motives were not released to the press.
A few weeks before that incident, a man was arrested at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas after allegedly calling the city’s McCarran International Airport threatening to blow up planes and shoot at people.
Although all threats are taken seriously across the country, Vegas has been on high alert for violent incidents in recent years. There’s been a rise in shootings on the Strip over the past year, and the 2017 shooting, the deadliest mass killing in American history, is still fresh in the minds of many law enforcement officers.
However, bomb threats (at casinos and elsewhere) are actually fairly rare across the United States. There are about 1,200 or so registered by the Department of Justice every year.
Highs and Lows
Of course, the majority of people don’t leave casinos wanting to call in a bomb threat or shoot at people. In fact, last week, Vegas Casinos gave out no less than three multimillion slot jackpots in just one 48-hour period.
One lucky customer, at the same South Point Casino as the irate visitor who threatened the airport, won $10.5 million on a single spin of a Megabucks machine.
Megabucks was the first mega jackpot slot to hit the Strip back in 1986 and has given out hundreds of millions of prizes since then. That includes the biggest ever Vegas jackpot win – a $32 million prize given out in 2003, which still hasn’t been beaten.
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