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Education, Explosions

this day in crime history: august 26, 1980

On this date in 1980, two men made an early morning delivery of what appeared to be computer equipment to the Harvey’s Resort and Casino in Stateline, NV. Harvey’s employees soon discovered the “computer equipment” and the note attached to it. The note informed them that the large package was a bomb, and that it would go off unless the bombers were paid $3 million by the casino.

Police, the FBI, and the ATF were called in. Bomb squad personnel examined the object and confirmed that it was a bomb. The device, which was very sophisticated, contained a large amount of dynamite.

The decision was made to pay the ransom, then concentrate on tracking down the extortionists later. Unfortunately, the delivery of the ransom money – which was to be done by police helicopter – didn’t go off as planned. This left the bomb squad with the task of figuring out how to disarm the largest dynamite bomb anyone in law enforcement had ever seen.

After x-raying the equipment and carefully examining it, the explosive ordnance disposal experts decided that the best was to disarm it way to quickly disconnect the detonators before they could set off the dynamite. To do this, they rigged shaped charges of C-4 and positioned them so they would blow the detonators off. Sand bags were stacked around the bomb to minimize the damage in case the plan didn’t work. This was a good idea, as the plan didn’t work. The shaped charges set the bomb off, destroying most of the casino and causing some damage to the neighboring hotel. Thankfully, there were no injuries from the explosion.

As the ensuing investigation unfolded, a suspect soon emerged: a Hungarian immigrant from Clovis, CA named John Birges. Birges, as it turned out, lost thousands of dollars gambling at Harvey’s. (note to all you high rollers out there: You can lose. That’s why they call it “gambling.”) In the summer of 1981, investigators received a tip that Birges had stolen dynamite from a construction site. Forensic examination matched the dynamite used at the site with that used in the Harvey’s Casino bomb. John Birges was arrested in August 1981, almost a year after the bombing. His three accomplices were soon arrested as well. It wasn’t long before they flipped and agreed to testify against Birges in exchange for lighter sentences. John Birges was convicted of multiple state and federal crimes. He died in prison of liver cancer in 1996.

Nobody Move!

On this date in 1980, two men made an early morning delivery of what appeared to be computer equipment to the Harvey’s Resort and Casino in Stateline, NV. Harvey’s employees soon discovered the “computer equipment” and the note attached to it. The note informed them that the large package was a bomb, and that it would go off unless the bombers were paid $3 million by the casino.

Police, the FBI, and the ATF were called in. Bomb squad personnel examined the object and confirmed that it was a bomb. The device, which was very sophisticated, contained a large amount of dynamite.

The decision was made to pay the ransom, then concentrate on tracking down the extortionists later. Unfortunately, the delivery of the ransom money – which was to be done by police helicopter – didn’t go off as planned. This left the bomb squad with the task of figuring…

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About SW Cali Commentary / Net Production

Jessica Zoe was born in Chicago, Illinois,” the windy city” where she spent the first 5 years of her life. She was raised in San Diego, but spent a brief time attending Jr. High school in Ireland where her extended family currently resides. Jessica graduated from Montana State University with a B.S. in Sociology / Anthropology. Soon afterwards she received a M.S. degree in Forensic Science from National University in San Diego. She also received a M.S. in Legal studies at the University of San Diego. Jessica’s favorite aspect of school is the sense of routine and accomplishment that she feels when she completes assignments and papers. The most challenging part of school has been realizing that most of the subject matter presented is best viewed "objectively". In other words, "don’t take all the material presented at face value". After college, Jessica spent several years working as a Legal Assistant for Construction Defect Attorneys in San Diego. She also worked as a Claims Adjuster for car accident attorneys as well. She then moved to north county where she worked in sales for the following 10 years. She has participated in all aspects of selling, from setting the appointment to closing the deal. Her favorite aspect of working has been the interaction with people. She enjoys socializing and is definitely a people-person. Jessica is currently working on her Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership, AKA EdD. where she hopes to network her way into the Forensic field to teach and consult. In Jessica’s spare time, she enjoys watersports and online publishing whenever she gets a break fromher current job in Commercial Transport. Jessica's current areas of interest for online self-publishing include: Industrial Automation | Hospital Protocols | Product Recalls | Legal Updates | Weatherizing & Climate | Environment | Space | Racing | Forensics | Sports & Event updates.

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