September 7, 2010 - 3:00 pm
Richard Sellers entered Arizona Charlie’s on Saturday morning with a beer in his hand and a defibrillator strapped around his chest.
He left the casino facing a terrorism charge after he pretended the device was a bomb and attempted to extort just $1,000 from the casino, according to his arrest report.
Sellers, 61, was arrested Saturday after a two-hour standoff with the Metropolitan Police Department’s SWAT unit.
According to his arrest report, Sellers entered the casino about 9:49 a.m., approached a security supervisor and lifted up his shirt. Underneath was a “LifeVest Wearable Defibrillator,” which the company advertises as the first non-invasive model for patients with risk of heart attacks.
Sellers handed the supervisor his beer and according to police said, “Someone put this on me and said if he didn’t win $1,000 in five minutes he was going to blow up the casino.”
When officers arrived they found Sellers outside. The device began beeping when they approached, and Sellers said, “Here we go, we’re all going to die.” Because the device looked like a bomb, officers handcuffed Sellers and backed away, the report said.
Sellers repeatedly asked officers to shoot him during the standoff, at one point begging officers to pull the trigger, police said. “He kept saying, ‘Shoot me or I’m going to blow this thing up,’ ” said Sgt. John Sheahan, a police spokesman.
SWAT and Las Vegas Fire Department bomb squad technicians were called to the scene and began negotiations with Sellers, who eventually admitted the device was not dangerous.
Sellers told officers he wanted to extort money from the casino and pretended to be a hostage in order to escape arrest. He stated, “I gave it a shot, you know. I just wanted to see if I could get some money. I (expletive) up,” the report said.
He came up with a story: “They’re holding my family hostage and I need $1,000. Give it to them and they’ll release everyone,” according to the report. He later told police “there’s no one else involved, it’s just me.”
Sellers was booked at the Clark County Detention Center on suspicion of making a terroristic threat, a felony, as well as extortion and burglary.
According to the report, Sellers was identified by a Southern Nevada Homeless Transition Services identification card.
Sellers later told detectives he had no recollection of the events and denied going into the casino.
According to court records, Sellers was sentenced to three years in prison for manufacturing or importing dangerous weapons in 1995. He also pleaded guilty to receiving or possessing stolen goods in 1996, and to receiving or transferring stolen vehicles in 2005.
Contact reporter Mike Blasky at email@example.com or 702-383-0283.