Robbed in Vegas

Woke at about 6:30 a.m.on the eighth floor of the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas this morning(03/23/2006).
I set out to shoot photos on Fremont Street.
I had never been there but was told I should go here for good pictures, that it was old town Las Vegas.
I took a taxi from the Sahara down to Fremont Street and talked with the Taxi driver on our short ride of a couple miles. He is from Cuba where he worked (but I can't remember what the man did in Cuba) earning $10 month.
Here in Vegas he says he has a house and one condominium.
Taxi drivers are the best for conversation. He says a doctor in Cuba makes about 300 pesos a month.
So he dropped me off, I handed him a ten, which included a tip of about $2.00.
And I walk all along Fremont Street. It was lame.
They have a light show called the "Main Street Experience". It all seems like a desperate attempt to be what they were before the new trendy strip grew.
The structure for the light show hangs over a couple blocks of the street like scaffolding. The metal mess is just as gaudy as the town itself.
You could say it is Vegas-like. So I walked on down, kept walking looking for the cowboy dude in neon lights we all see when we think of old Las Vegas.
I never found it, but instead found a rundown town the farther I walk down the street.
Many building were abandoned. The weather was pleasant but who really cares. About seventy degrees, sunny and a bright blue sky. Enough on that.
I was shooting the pictures I wanted, another face of Vegas.

I must have walked a few miles by now (about 10:30 a.m.), opting not to take a taxi back to the hotel. I wanted to take in the sites, of which were dirty and fabricated.
A lot like Wall Drug in South Dakota but much worse.
A few blocks from my hotel, smoking a cigarette, I was asked for a smoke by one of two young men outside of Carl’s Jr. fast food joint.
I began to hand roll a smoke. I said, “I hope you are not in a big hurry.” I finished one smoke, they asked for another.
With my hands occupied rolling a smoke, one man walked behind me and unclipped my hip sack. In an instant we were both sprinting through the parking lot Carl’s Jr. and down an alley.
I was on his tail, it was a good run for a few hundred yards before he neared an apartment complex that looked like trouble.
I stopped and approached a few housekeepers working at a nearby motel. They saw the chase.
A man gave me his cell phone to call the cops. I dialed 911 and gave my address and explained what happened before I was disconnected. Just as I was calling back, I saw a squad car arrive.
It had now been about ten minutes since the crime. I was impressed with the response time.
While talking with the cops, a man came up on his bike and so did a security officer.
They both helped explain in detail what the men were wearing.
The man on the bike apologized for not helping but I was grateful for a detailed description, and the confirmation of my description.
While talking with the cops, the custodians from the motel began shouting and waving their arms.
They saw the men come out from the apartment area I chased the man holding my hi sack too.
I never knew what happened to his friend.
The cops took off down the ally, denied me access to ride with so I took off running again.
I caught up to a maintenance man and a couple that saw the two men.
The maintenance man explained that he saw the men enter the apartment and told them to leave.
The couple saw the men in a car parked outside the complex.
The descriptions matched.
The couple then showed me my hip sack lying beside a dumpster, opened and scattered. I took a a picture of my hip sack.
I was relieved to see my wallet and didn’t care about the missing $50. I was ready to say, drop it.
The cops arrived after driving around the area asking if anyone had seen… (well I don’t know what… two black men running?)
Another squad car and two officers arrived at entered the apartment complex.
Telling me to wait outside the gate. About ten minutes later an officer arrived with a man for me to identify. I said, no, I don’t think that is him.
Another officer showed with another man. I said no, I don’t think so.
Both had warrants and so they remained in cuffs. Again I took some more photos.
Meanwhile a sergeant looked at surveillance video from a pawn shop.
The sergeant called an officer and handed me the phone. He said he was on his way down and wanted to talk to me.
He arrived, pulled me aside and asked if I was worried about some repercussions or if they made any threat to me.
I said no.
He asked if I was trying to buy drugs, again I said no.
He explained that he has a clear shot of the men on video at a pawn shop across the street from Carl’s Jr. where I was robbed.
The pawn shop called the cop on these same two criminals for reasons I couldn’t get from the cops.
On another front, I gave my cell phone number to an officer and said I had yet to find it.
It was clipped onto my hip sack. I asked if he could call the number near the door to the apartments from where the two suspects were taken from.
He agreed and entered the apartment complex.
Five minutes later he came out and told his fellow officers, “we got his phone”.
While I could not, without a reason of doubt, identify these men, of which both had changed their clothes, I was now certain that these were in fact the two men.
I shot photos of the arrest until one in cuffs noticed and objected. The officers asked me not to take their photo.
I agreed.
I figured I had the few photos I wanted.
So this is Las Vegas.
It was about 1:30 p.m.
I was tired and had my share of sun and adventure.
I waited to post this until after court. I decided to appear in court, with expenses paid. But the defendants did not appear.
Las Vegas, “may you rot and burn in hell.”

Published by

Nate Howard Photography | Montana

Nate Howard has traveled the world as a photojournalist. The photographs he sent to us were from, Russia, Mexico, Iraq, and Kosovo. Photography taken all around the world does not always have a lot of similarities, but what we were most impressed by was Mr. Howard’s ability to capture quiet human moments that made us feel like we knew the people photographed.

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