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A Hungarian refugee-made-good-in-America, John Birges became a high roller at Harvey's Wagon Wheel Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nev., in the 1970s. As long as Birges was gambling (and losing) big bucks, the owner, naturally, treated him like royalty. That happens to a lot of big gamblers everywhere, and is nothing new.
What was new in this case, however, was that after Birges began reducing his bets because of financial trouble and casino owner Harvey Gross started taking away special perks, how the losing gambler reacted. Birges, who had escaped Hungary during the Soviet invasion in the mid 1950s, decided he wanted his money back. He was talking three million dollars. He also was "talking" via a ransom-type note attack to the biggest homemade bomb ever seen at that time. Birges, with cooperation from his two sons, had the gigantic bomb delivered to the casino one afternoon. Under the guise of deliverymen from IBM, they wheeled the big thing right into Harvey's unoccupied office.
When word got out and everyone in the building was forced to evacuate, there were those who were winning on slot machines and wouldn't leave! Then there were hundreds of nosy bystanders who wouldn't leave, either, for days! They wanted to see if something blew up. People are so insane that they not only stood too close (until police finally forced them back) but made a big joke out of it, wearing tee-shirts proclaiming "I Was Bombed At Harvey's."
What happens, regarding the main characters in this true-life crime story, and the big bomb, I'll leave up to you to see if you tune in this interesting episode. What you'll also see is the gorgeous Lake Tahoe scenery and a little bit of the town's history.
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