The Nye County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday asked for help finding a trio suspected of trying to dig up “precious metals” on Ted Binion’s former property in Pahrump.
A manager of the property once owned by the late gambling executive told detectives on April 2 that surveillance photos captured three men on the property with shovels on March 30.
The manager identified one man as 56-year-old Richard Cleaves, who formerly worked on the property. The sheriff’s office asked the public’s assistance in identifying the two other men seen with Cleaves.
“While investigating the crime scene, deputies and detectives located several holes dug in the main structure on the property,” Deputy Ann Horak said in a video news release Thursday, adding that a hole was also found near a demolished brick BBQ smoker outside of the main structure.
“There is a long-standing rumor within Nye County that Binion had buried a large amount of precious metals, including silver bars, on this property and others that he owned,” she said.
In 1998, Nye County found $5 million of silver in Pahrump owned by Binion, the manager of Binion’s Horseshoe in Las Vegas, whose death dominated headlines two decades ago, leading to a high-profile murder trial.
Binion was 55 when his body was found face up on the floor of his 6,700-square-foot home on Palomino Lane on Sept. 17, 1998. His death was initially ruled a heroin and Xamax overdose.
Binion’s girlfriend, Sandy Murphy, who he met when she was a dancer at Cheetah’s, and her lover, Rick Tabish, were later convicted, then acquitted, of his murder. In the days after Binion’s death, Tabish tried to take $6 million in silver from a buried vault in Pahrump
It’s unclear if Cleaves and the other two men were successful in finding anything on Binion’s former property. As of Thursday morning, Cleaves had not been arrested in the March burglary attempt.
But he was arrested Jan 27, 2017, after he was found digging holes on the property.
“He told deputies that he’d read online that there was millions of dollars worth of gold buried on the property. and he wanted to find it,” Horak said.
Anyone with information about the burglary can contact the sheriff’s office at 775-751-7000.