|By Dan Good, The Press of Atlantic City,
Pleasantville, N.J.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Sept. 04, 2011--Dennis Gomes just wanted to eat dinner.
Resorts Casino Hotel's CEO was dining with his wife and friends Friday at Capriccio, one of the property's restaurants.
It had been a long day, and Gomes, 67, was hungry. He had ordered salad and red snapper livornese.
The entrees had not yet arrived.
During the wait, a man walked into the restaurant.
"He sorta bent down to tie his shoe," said Gomes, who spent a decade as a police officer and was trained to notice little things, monitoring to see if they turn into bigger things.
The man stood and started walking. And suddenly, he was carrying a case that he hadn't walked in with, Gomes said.
"I bolted out of the chair and ran across my wife, running for this guy," Gomes said. "He saw me running and took off."
Gomes chased the man to an escalator. The man tossed the case, "hoping I'd go after it," Gomes said.
Gomes was more worried about the man.
Being that it was a Friday night in the summer, people filtered onto the property's escalator, riding to upper floors. Those people, Gomes said, served as hindrances to the case-snatcher's escape.
So instead of battling the upward-moving crowds, the man opted to run down the up side of the escalator, against the directional flow. Gomes, again, followed, the CEO turned security officer telling escalator riders to move out of the way.
"All I could think about was not letting this guy get away," Gomes said.
At the bottom of the escalator, the man veered right -- running across a crowded casino floor. Gomes was a sprinter in his younger days. Among the table games and video poker machines, he completed a 100-yard dash.
He saw a security guard nearby -- Cory Pinkston. Gomes had recently showed Pinkston some karate moves.
"I yelled to him, 'Let's go after this guy,'" Gomes said.
And they did, each grabbing one of the man's arms as he tried to exit through a door.
"He struggled a bit at first, then he calmed down," Gomes said.
Resorts security detained the man -- later identified by officials as Anthony Roberts, 37 -- in a holding tank. Somewhere during the detaining process, the man obtained a black eye.
Eventually, Atlantic City police got involved, arresting Roberts.
Roberts was released from prison Aug. 21 for a previous theft sentence, Department of Corrections records show. He is now accused of trying to steal a case filled with CDs and baby powder, among other items, from a woman who was dining in the restaurant.
Following Friday's chase, Gomes, still hungry and "sweating like a pig," by his account, walked back to the restaurant.
"People were clapping and patting me on the back, doing drinks to me," Gomes said. "It was embarrassing. I didn't realize they all saw me running."
Word of the chase quickly spread through the casino's work force. Director of Security Ann Fox started receiving emails minutes after the incident occurred. Now, she has even more respect for her boss -- and a nominee for the security department's employee of the month award.
"I've spent 34 years at this property, and I've never seen anyone in that postion who cares so much," Fox said. "He's passionate about everything he does."
After sitting back down at Capriccio, after the buzz subsided a bit, Gomes attempted to eat his entree.
He got a few bites in before security approached, asking him to give a statement about the chase down the up escalator and across the casino, and that was all for the red snapper.
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