What happens in Vegas may not always stay in Vegas – especially if it’s caught on video.
The Las Vegas Police Department is investigating three players from the Spokane Shock based on allegations that one of the football players stole about $600 from the purses of three women on May 23 and handed some of the cash to two other players. Victims say the thefts were caught on security footage.
Ryan Eucker, director of operations for the Shock, said team officials are working with the Arena Football League and with the Las Vegas police regarding the incident that occurred after the game last month.
“We have been made aware of a potential incident that occurred. At this time, we have not been presented with any sort of formal charges,” Eucker said. “We are fully cooperating at this point.”
One of the alleged victims, Lindsay Preisinger, told The Spokesman-Review that as soon as she learned money had been stolen from her and friends’ purses she contacted security at the Gold Spike lounge in Las Vegas and had them pull their security tapes.
The video clearly showed one of the Shock players pulling cash out of the purses and handing the money across the table as a distracted Preisinger spoke to other players, she said.
Gold Spike security guards then made efforts to detain the three players in question until the police could arrive.
“At first, they detained the three guys involved. But it was becoming a bit of a scene,” Preisinger said. “So they decided we’ll just take the whole team outside. It was basically two rent-a-cops trying to detain a whole football team. That’s not going to go well. And about a dozen of them ran.”
Team officials chose to allow all the players named in the investigation to play in last week’s 59-47 loss to the Arizona Rattlers and one of them scored a touchdown. Furthermore, the team will make the entire roster available for tonight’s game in San Jose, California.
“Again, we haven’t been presented with any official charges,” Eucker said. “There is nothing on our end we can do from keeping them from participating. If official charges come across, we’ll take appropriate measures.”
Blair Hollis, who had some of her money stolen that night, said she feels violated that the team would allow all the players to participate.
“We want them to be held accountable,” Hollis said. “But, we also know there is a process and we have to be patient.”
Preisinger said the whole incident occurred in about 30 minutes. She traveled to Las Vegas to watch the team with Hollis, who was dating one of the Shock players she had met in Kansas City, Missouri, and Hollis’ sister.
After the Shock beat the Outlaws 63-56, the women met up with the players at the Gold Spike.
Hollis and her sister went to play a game inside the lounge with two players as Preisinger sat at a table and watched all the women’s purses. As she waited, she talked with several Shock players.
Hollis said everything broke down when her sister went to purchase a drink and found her wallet empty of cash. The women then checked all of their purses and found a total of about $600 missing.
Preisinger said she marched over to the lounge’s security crew and demanded they call police and pull the video.
“They acted pretty quickly,” Preisinger said.
James Oliver, who identified himself as the head of security at the Gold Spike, said he remembers talking with Preisinger on May 23.
Asked if he could confirm her version of events, Oliver said: “I can’t do that, only because it’s an ongoing investigation by the Las Vegas Police Department.”
A detective called both Preisinger and Hollis and told both women in detail about the video. Preisinger said the video shows how one of the players pulled the money while another asked her to go get him a slice of pizza.
The one player “did it while I was talking to the guy with the great pick-up line,” Preisinger said.
Hollis said she broke off her relationship with her boyfriend, a Shock player who wasn’t involved in the incident, for personal reasons. But it didn’t help that he was one of the players who fled on foot.
“He told me later he was running to take care of the situation … to go get the money back,” Hollis said. “But it just looked bad.”
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