The Zero-Armed Bandit • Damn Interesting
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i was in Tahoe the week after the explosion, and went over as close as you could get to the Casino to look at the damage. I has always been interesting to me that no one remembers this event. Before I read your story I thought this whole incident had been completely forgotten
The Littlest Boy – Foreign Policy
The FBI constructed a cutaway replica of Big John’s device to demonstrate its complexity for the jury—complete with all of the circuitry, booby traps, and triggers of the original, save the actual dynamite and blasting caps. On the witness stand, John Birges Sr. did admit to having built the bomb, but he claimed it was in self defense. He chronicled a dubious story wherein mafia-affiliated henchmen from Harvey’s had extorted him into constructing and delivering the device for insurance fraud—an extortion Ponzi scheme of sorts. The shadowy knuckle-crackers had given him an ultimatum, he claimed: Wreck the casino or we will wreck your bones. Whatever credibility he clung to disintegrated when it was revealed that he had stolen more explosives after the failed original extortion, with plans to repeat the plot using a homemade, self-propelled, remote-controlled bomb buggy. Jimmy Birges had led the FBI to where the new dynamite stash was buried in a dry creek bed.