To the security guard of Harvey’s Resort Hotel and Casino, two men dropping off a copy machine seemed like a perfectly routine event. Little did he know, however, that they were actually placing a 1,000-pound dynamite bomb inside the building. Unsurprisingly, then, what followed was one of the strangest – and most explosive – cases that the FBI has ever dealt with.
This odd crime story starts in 1979. The venue? Harvey’s Resort Hotel and Casino, located on the southern side of Lake Tahoe, on the California-Nevada border. Wealthy meat seller Harvey Gross opened the casino in 1944, and it initially began as a single-room club.
It was here that 58-year-old restaurant proprietor and retired landscaper John Birges had been gambling for many years. In 1979, though, he’d hired a nearby apartment and spent the best part of half a year at the casino’s blackjack table. Unfortunately, Birges’ fortunes betrayed him, and he reportedly lost around $750,000.