Las Vegas Sun

October 15, 2018

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LOOKING IN ON: COPS AND COURTS:

Metro has suspect in courthouse graffiti case

It didn’t take long for the Metro Police gang unit to identify a suspect in the graffiti outbreak at the Regional Justice Center.

On Wednesday, less than two weeks after the Sun first reported the wave of vandalism at the $185 million building, detectives said they submitted a felony case against a well-known tag crew member to the district attorney’s office for prosecution.

Police and courthouse marshals, who are assisting in the investigation, are looking for more suspects.

“The gang detail detectives are diligent in their investigations, and I’m not surprised to learn that they have identified a perpetrator so quickly,” District Attorney David Roger said. “We’ll review the case and file charges if there is sufficient evidence to prove the case.”

Roger said it was crucial to move fast in this investigation.

“It’s important to send a message to other would-be taggers that if you deface the halls of justice, you will be held accountable,” he said.

Authorities said they did not want to release the name of the suspect until charges are filed.

Detective Scott Black, who broke the case, said he identified the tag crew member from a moniker etched into a bathroom door at the Regional Justice Center.

Black thinks the suspect did the damage while at the courthouse facing other graffiti charges.

Sgt. Dave Hicks of the marshals said the repair costs will run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Among the items that will have to be replaced is a $23,000 first-floor bathroom mirror that is covered with tag crew scratches.

The building is less than three years old.

• • •

Until they got caught, the high-rolling defendants in the Bank of China federal fraud case were spending millions of dollars they allegedly stole from the bank.

So maybe it’s only fair that one of the jurors who could decide their fate be given a chance to become a millionaire.

U.S. District Judge Philip Pro recessed the lengthy trial for a day Wednesday so that the female juror, reportedly an alternate, could attend tryouts for the prime-time network game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”

The juror sent the judge a note last week saying she had made plans to attend the tryouts at the Cannery in North Las Vegas before the trial began.

• • •

The federal government and former Crazy Horse Too owner Rick Rizzolo may be on the same side when it comes to seeking the highest sale price for the strip club.

But that’s where the unholy alliance between the two longtime adversaries ends.

Following Monday’s emotional hearing on the stalled sale, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Johnson — who spent years investigating Rizzolo before he struck his plea agreement with the government — was chatting informally with a reporter on the seventh floor of the federal courthouse while waiting for an elevator to head down to his office.

Rizzolo, his father, Bart Rizzolo, and his attorney Mark Hafer were standing a few steps away.

When an elevator door opened, the trio stepped inside, followed by the reporter. Johnson, however, remained behind.

“Are you coming in, Eric?” Rick Rizzolo asked.

“No,” Johnson replied, saying he would be taking another elevator with a federal agent who had just showed up.

• • •

Conspiracy theorists continue to beat the drums about the death of “Buffalo” Jim Barrier, who authorities have concluded met his demise after mixing cocaine with a bad heart.

They prodded KVBC Channel 3 into doing a story Tuesday night about the discovery of the date-rape drug, GHB, in his system.

It is true that toxicology tests did turn up a small amount of GHB. But according to Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy, we all have small levels of naturally produced GHB in our bodies.

The amount found in Barrier’s system, courthouse sources said, actually was less than the normal level.

End of story.

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