By Katrina Brown Hunt
Updated: February 02, 2017

We’ve always loved walking through a Vegas casino in the morning: the calm determination of the early-riser slot-machine lovers, armed with their large coffees, and the trickle of tousled, hungover, partiers squinting their way to the lobby to go find their cars.

It turns out that near dawn is also the perfect time to pull off a big heist. Las Vegas Police are looking for a Palmdale, Calif., man who allegedly took $1.6 million in chips at The Venetian casino on Oct. 10. He supposedly walked into the casino at about 6 a.m., and with no staff nearby, picked the lock on a cabinet full of chips and strolled away with his haul.

Sounds ingeniously simple, right? Of course, we know that crooks are often stymied by their own stupidity, and in this case, the alleged perp made his mistake in taking high-denomination chips. “If you are playing on that level, you usually have credit and they know you pretty well,” a gaming expert told a Las Vegas reporter. “So it’s more difficult to turn in, say, a $10,000 chip than it would be to cash in a $25 chip.”

While a few people have apparently tried to redeem some of the lower-value chips—and were questioned and then released by investigators—the wait is on to see if someone is gullible enough to buy cheap, and then try to cash in, a hot $10,000 chip.