Man arrested after fight backstage at ‘Thunder From Down Under’

A gun was no match for “Thunder From Down Under.”

Police say a man dressed like a member of the beefy male dance crew sneaked backstage at Excalibur on the Strip and pulled a handgun on the real dancers. He left in handcuffs — with a shiner — after a rumble with “The Blokes” and a few of their mates.

The fight happened about 9 p.m. Tuesday after police say several of the entertainers confronted the man, whom Las Vegas police are still trying to identify.

Police say the man, described as looking 25 to 30, was spotted wearing a SWAT hat and shoes, plus a fireman’s shirt — much like the Australian-themed show’s costumes. He blended in, according to an arrest report, because witnesses thought he was a new addition to the troupe.

As the strippers began putting on their stage clothes, police said, a few of them noticed they were missing items they’d seen the man wearing, plus some makeup.

Dancer Ryan Paki saw a suitcase and show props near a locker room door, police said, and when he and show director Karen D’ihm were inspecting, a man wearing a fireman shirt walked up and said he bought the items for his girlfriend.

Enter several other “Blokes,” the show’s name for its dancers, and some supporting crew. The six men started fighting with the intruder, police said, trying to take back their stuff.

But the man had another plan, police said: “I got a gun, I’m gonna shoot,” he said.

He pulled a .44 Magnum, pointed it toward “Thunder” employee Scott Berchtold’s head and pulled the trigger, police said, but someone pushed the gun as it fired. The bullet hit the wall.

Someone wrestled the gun away, police said, and the rest of the group fought and restrained the man him until security arrived.

Metro got there and arrested the intruder, and police said he identified himself as Michael Maharas. But officers could not verify his name. He was taken to University Medical Center, where police say he was violent with medical personnel and had to be sedated. He appeared to be under the influence of methamphetamine when he was arrested, police said.

The man was released from the hospital and booked as a John Doe at Clark County Detention Center, police said. He faces charges of attempted murder with a deadly weapon, attempted robbery with a deadly weapon, and burglary with a deadly weapon.

One person received a powder burn from the gunshot, police said, and was treated at Excalibur.

Police took an unregistered .44 Magnum and a box of .44-round ammunition as evidence.

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