George Jay Vandermark was an unusual choice to supervise the slot machine operation at the Stardust Casino in Las Vegas in the mid-1970s.
Vandermark was a crack thief — at stealing coins from slot machines.
But if you're interested in stealing some of those coins for yourself, as the people were at the Stardust, then who better a choice than Vandermark?
Except Vandermark may have been stealing some of the coins for his own private skim.
And it wasn't pocket change.
His world started falling apart in May 18, 1976.
That day, Dennis Gomes, a top investigator with the Nevada Gaming Commission, hit the Stardust in a raid.
Through a bit of bluffing, informant information and street smarts, Gomes uncovered the slots skim at the Stardust and three other related casinos that night.
Gomes wanted to speak to Vandermark, but casino officials told him he had taken off on vacation
By chance, it was that very night.
Management, strangely enough, had no idea where he went.
The authorities determined that the skim amounted to $7 million over one year.
The problem for Vandermark is the mob believed the skim amounted to only $4 million.
Which means the mob soon realized it was short $3 million or so.
Gomes wanted to talk to Vandermark and fast.
Vandermark could tell him who gave him the orders to start the skim.
And Gomes believed that Vandermark's life was in danger.
Having no luck finding Vandermark, Gomes and another agent went to speak to Vandermark's son who lived in an apartment in Las Vegas.
The son was angry at first, but eventually told Gomes that his father was in Mexico and that he would be seeing him soon and relay Gomes' message.
When the son returned, he called Gomes and told him he believed his father was going to cooperate.
The son was busy and told Gomes he would see him in two days.
Gomes never saw the young man again.
When he didn't hear from him, Gomes went to his apartment. Inside, the young man was dead, his head crushed.
Police said the murder was drug-related.
The murder marked an end to any hope Gomes had of talking to Vandermark.