When Las Vegas police arrested Roddregus Hampton in August at Bellagio, a detective found hotel room keys from five Strip resorts in his pocket.
Authorities say Hampton, 30, and a 28-year-old accomplice, Gerald Waite, used a common technique to commit thefts at Las Vegas resorts this summer: They acquired hotel room keys and used them to gain access to restricted areas, such as hotel room floors or the areas around pools and spas.
“The hotel room keys are used to avoid detection from hotel security and law enforcement to make the appearance that the subjects who are possessing the hotel room keys belong in the area,” according to Hampton’s arrest report. “Once in these restricted areas, these subjects often commit crimes such as burglary, grand larceny, robbery and others.”
On Aug. 9, a security investigator at Bellagio contacted Las Vegas police and told them hotel employees were using video surveillance to watch two people in the hotel room tower. Employees suspected they were the same two people who had burglarized several hotel rooms over the summer, stealing laptop computers, money, credit cards and a $7,300 Hermes purse.
Bellagio employees had watched the pair use a key on Aug. 9 to enter the hotel’s elevators in the lobby and then travel to the 20th floor. The pair proceeded to exit the elevators on each floor from the 20th to the 12th.
Around 8:30 p.m., Hampton and Waite exited an elevator and walked into the lobby, where police arrested them.
Detective Jeffrey Kinsler found room keys from Bellagio, The Venetian, Wynn Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood and The Mirage in one of Hampton’s pockets.
Security officers at all five resorts told police that neither Hampton nor Waite were guests of their hotels.
The detective also found an empty black bag in one of Hampton’s pockets. According to Hampton’s arrest report, those who intend to commit thefts often have empty bags in their possession.
Kinsler asked Hampton about the stolen purse, which was taken July 21 from the Bellagio hotel tower, and Hampton initially denied involvement in the theft.
“Hampton later acknowledged taking the purse but claimed he had just found it in the hallway with the receipt still inside,” Kinsler wrote in the report. “I asked Hampton what he did with the purse, and Hampton claimed he had given it to somebody to sell for him.”
Hampton told the detective he was given “an unknown amount of money” from the sale of the purse, according to the report. Hampton also said he gave Waite “an unknown percentage of the money” for his assistance.
According to the report, Hampton admitted he had come to Bellagio on Aug. 9 to steal items from hotel rooms. He told police he and Waite “had done this same thing at the Bellagio four different times.”
Hampton and Waite were arrested that night on various conspiracy and burglary charges.
Waite pleaded guilty in October to one count of burglary, a felony, and was sentenced last month to four years of probation.
While on probation, he must stay away from Bellagio. His sentence also includes a requirement that he pay $7,300 in restitution.
Court records indicate that Waite, who spent 18 months in Iraq, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Prosecutors chose to seek an indictment against Hampton rather than proceeding with a preliminary hearing in Justice Court.
On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted the defendant on three counts of conspiracy to commit burglary, five counts of burglary, five counts of unlawful use of a hotel key, and two counts of grand larceny. The crimes began June 30.
District Judge Linda Bell set bail at $120,000 and set an arraignment hearing for Jan. 16. Hampton remained in custody Friday at the Clark County Detention Center.
Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-384-8710. Follow @CarriGeer on Twitter.