Out in Jean, 30 miles north of the Nevada state line with California, they had some excitement when some lame-brained movie buffs set up to rob one of the casinos a la Oceans’ Eleven.
It’s been about twenty years since they caused folks so much collateral mischief by wrecking the electric switching station out by Jean. The power outage extended to Goodsprings, whose good people were out of power for something like three months.
No electric meant no water from their wells, which meant no water to flush toilets, and no working electric stoves nor air conditioning out there in the desert. There was no TV, and only batter-powered radios. No refrigeration for food, no freezers. Dogs got fat on leftovers. And Goodsprings was named not for a fresh, cool mountain stream, but for the man who started something or other in the town. Maybe the dusty old town itself.
Goodsprings is officially a ghost town, though about fifty people lived there at the time the lights went out. It used to be a big railhead in the old boom days. There was still a bar in town, and a church. Many folk had never torn down their old out-houses when modern plumbing had come indoors to their houses and miners’ shacks.
With the power out, those living in places with outdoor toilets suddenly became royalty living in mansions, compared to those with no toilet facilities. Neighbors who had been close over the years became closer. Estranged neighbors made up their differences. It was a renaissance of sorts in town.
The night the power outage began, it was warm as I rode my motorcycle to the casino for the midnight to 8 a.m. shift. Knowing nothing but the fact that the power was out in Sandy Valley where I lived, and over the pass in Goodsprings as well, I saw that just the emergency power was on in the casino as I pulled up— no big sign out front.
Entering the front doors as usual, I reported to the Keno area, burning with curiosity and hoping the outage would cut the shift short. (Some casinos have generators for the lights and slots. Business as usual there.)
“Dandy!” hollered my shift boss. “What are you doing here? How long have you been here?”
“I work here, remember? I just got here. What’s going on?”
And so the boss explained to me that around about six p.m. the power went out and several men came in commando style, rolling a smoke grenade into the casino.
Once in, they let lots of smoke grenades off in order to blind and confuse casino Security, which worked really great, he said. It worked so great that the smoke also blinded the would-be robbers, who couldn’t seem to find the casino cage, where the money is. They fumbled and stumbled around for some time, bumping casino staff and each other, until the leader gave the memorable order to retreat: ”Aw crap, let’s get outta here!
Idiots try an Oceans’ Eleven style hit on a remote Nevada casino.