Christina Lafave did the time. Now she’s charged with the crime.
The caper of the missing $35,000 Rolex Presidential watch began with drinks and some chit-chat between Lafave and 66-year-old Kenneth Herold at Wynn Las Vegas’ B Bar on a January night.
Soon the two were heading upstairs to Herold’s suite after he forked over three $100 bills for a private massage offered by the 25-year-old Lafave.
On his left wrist, as seen on security surveillance, was the yellow-colored timepiece. Rolex Presidential watches range in price from $10,000 to upwards of $30,000. The more expensive ones often are encrusted with jewels, such as diamonds.
A few hours later, about 3 a.m. on Jan. 15, Herold called Wynn security to his suite.
Accusations began to fly. Herold said Lafave stole his watch. She denied it and said Herold was mad because she refused to perform oral sex on him without a condom.
No one had left the room, but the watch was no where to be found.
Lafave then tried to leave, but Wynn security cuffed her and called Metro.
Herold later would tell investigators that once he and Lafave had gone to his room, he disrobed and got onto a massage table that was in the suite. About 30 minutes into the rubdown, Lafave told Herold to take off his watch so she could massage his arms.
He put the watch on the ground within his view. Five to seven minutes later, it was gone.
Lafave steadfastly denied any wrongdoing, so two Metro officers combed the suite for the watch, to no avail.
There was one place they hadn’t looked.
Lafave finally admitted where the watch was, police said.
She was taken to University Medical Center, where she said she was in pain. A search warrant was signed, and an X-ray was taken of Lafave’s midsection.
“Prior to medical staff assisting Lafave with the removal of the watch she admitted to them that she had stolen a watch and concealed the item in her vagina,” a police report said.
Defense lawyer Chris Rasmussen was outraged when he found out the lengths and depths police went to retrieve the watch from his client and is hoping to suppress what he said was an illegal search-and-seizure.
“We intend to file a motion to suppress the medical intrusion,” Rasmussen said. “The search is an unreasonable search when medical providers have to use equipment to conduct an invasive procedure to remove what police believe is evidence.”
Herold and Lafave’s rendezvous was a consensual encounter, Rasmussen said. “We believe he gave her the watch and later he tried to take it back when he wasn’t satisfied with her services. Like any person who works in these hotels, she believed she was going to be compensated for her massage.”
Rasmussen said the case amounts to a 66-year-old man taking advantage of a young local woman.
Clark County prosecutors don’t see it that way. Lafave faces two felony counts, grand larceny and possession of stolen property.
It’s not known whether the watch was returned to its owner or remains in an evidence vault pending Lafave’s trial. Attempts to reach Herold were unsuccessful.
Lafave, who has Metro-issued work cards allowing her to dance at Cheetahs, Cover Girls and Babes strip clubs, is free on $40,000 bail, court records show.
She is set to appear before a Las Vegas judge in the case on May 15. If convicted, Lafave faces one to 20 years in prison.
It’s unknown whether she will get credit for time already served.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @fjmccabe