Burglary suspect drops in on Vegas Arcade
Courtesy of TCPalm News
STUART — The plan was to hit the jackpot by hiding in the ceiling and swiping the safes after the Vegas Fun Arcade closed for the night.
But the burglar stepped on a ceiling tile and fell onto the unisex bathroom floor while the business was still open. The would-be thief ran when confronted but left one lucky piece of evidence behind — his Nextel cell phone.
Neither man could be reached for comment Wednesday.
It wasn't quite a full house inside the video slot machine arcade amid the south Stuart Publix plaza last Sunday. But a number of customers were trying their luck at turning a few bucks into more money, to be paid out with gift cards for local stores.
Arcade manager Holly Parker, 31, was on duty that night, keeping an eye on the Triple Fever, Big Boss and Reels and Deals games amid the dim green and blue lights. This type of gaming is legal she said, under the state's so-called "Chuck E. Cheese" exemption to the gambling law.
She noticed debris on the bathroom floor shortly before 8 p.m., looked up and saw the broken ceiling tile.
"I though maybe someone was stashing alcohol or drugs. Anything is possible," she said. "We didn't think in a million years somebody got themselves up in the ceiling."
Parker stood on the toilet but was too short to see up in the ceiling cavity, so she just felt around with her hands. Nothing was unusual.
She asked one of the male employees to get a ladder and take a good look while she swept up the floor.
And all of a sudden ...
"I see tiles moving in the other room," Parker said. "It thought, 'Oh my God! Someone's on the roof.' I freaked out."
She called 911 and ran next door to warn the manager at Publix that the burglar might be heading their way through the ceiling.
"I came back and the guy was just falling through he ceiling ..." she said.
She estimated it was an 8 to 10 foot-fall, but the man pushed a customer out of the way to escape out the front door.
He left the phone in a book bag.
Detectives with the Martin County Sheriff's Office contacted the people called from the phone and quickly had a suspect.
Moore, who lives on Gatehouse Circle in Stuart, later admitted he hid in the ceiling for five hours, and was charged with burglary.
"He got up there way too early," sheriff's spokeswoman Lt. Jenell Atlas said. "We always appreciate when the criminals leave behind things we can track right to them."
Moore also ratted out his partner.
Nyitray, of the 2200 block of Southeast Letha Court, told investigators he was with his wife. But his wife denied that report, and he too was charged with burglary.
For the Vegas Fun manager, the hope was not to be on the wrong side of Lady Luck again.
"Very crazy. Very crazy. You know I'm still kind of freaked out about it," Parker said. "If I wouldn't have done that, who knows. I could have been out a lot of money."