ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — It’s not often that you see a casino owner running through their building’s gaming floor in hot pursuit of a theft suspect.

But that’s what happened Friday night at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, when 67-year-old Dennis Gomes and a casino security guard nabbed a man who allegedly tried to steal a package from a woman dining at a casino restaurant.

The veteran gaming industry executive, who also is a former police officer and Las Vegas mob investigator, was attending a birthday party in the restaurant when he noticed the suspect walk toward a table. The man bent down, apparently to tie his shoes, but Gomes then noticed him leaving with some type of package that the woman had put underneath her table.

“When I realized what was happening, I jumped over wife and took off after him,” Gomes told The Associated Press. “He took off as well and soon dropped the package. I assume he thought that’s what I wanted and would stop chasing him, but I kept going.”

The chase then went through the casino’s gaming floor and toward some escalators. Gomes alerted the security guard, who happened to be in the area, and he quickly joined Gomes in the chase.

Gomes said the suspect tried use an escalator to escape, but abandoned that plan because there were too many casino patrons in his way. Gomes then ran down an upward escalator to reach the man, who was soon subdued by Gomes and the guard.

“(That) took me back to my school days, when I was a competitive runner,” said Gomes, who also holds a black belt in karate and trains in other martial arts. “I’m just glad we were able to prevent this from happening. The safety of our guests is our paramount concern.”

No one was hurt in the incident, though many casino patrons were startled by the disruption.

Casino security officials say the item the suspect allegedly took turned out to be a small case holding various items, including a child’s DVD and some diapers.
They said the case’s owner has filed a theft complaint against the suspect, who also was wanted on an unrelated warrant.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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