A man who hooked up with a woman in Las Vegas earlier this month discovered, after waking up in his hotel room the next morning, the absence of the woman, his wallet, his cell phone, and his Apple Watch. It sounds like the plot of a predictable Hollywood comedy. But this real-life story took some unexpected and dark turns.
Instead of reporting the theft to the police and chalking it up to experience, the victim responded with some creative and successful detective work. He purchased a new cell phone that he used to track his old one. This led him to St. George, Utah, an outdoor recreation hotspot about two hours northwest of Las Vegas.
While honing in on his old phone’s signal, the man spotted the woman he knew only as “Stephanie” driving an Acura SUV with Nevada plates.
He then followed her to a motel, where he phoned local police, according to the St. George News. When the responding officers showed the man a photo of the vehicle’s owner, he identified her as the woman he had spent the evening with two days earlier.
Jennifer Leann Gularek, 30, admitted to police having just been in Las Vegas — because she lives there — but denied possessing any of the complainant’s property.
According to the newspaper’s report, police obtained a warrant to search the suspect, her room, and her vehicle. In the SUV, officers say they found the complainant’s phone and a bank card issued in his name.
Guns, Bullets Confiscated
Police say they also found and confiscated a Glock handgun they learned was reported to the Las Vegas Metro Police as being stolen in 2011, along with a plastic baggie filled with bullets. Also in the SUV was a large stack of casino loyalty cards with magnetic strips on the back.
According to the officers, these are commonly used to clone stolen credit and bank cards.
The suspect admitted spending the evening with the complainant, police said, but claimed she merely borrowed his bank card during a shopping trip and forgot to return it. She said the firearm was purchased at a Las Vegas gun show, though she could not produce a receipt for the sale.
She did not explain how the complainant’s cell phone got in her SUV.
Stuck in Purgatory
The suspect was arrested and taken to Purgatory Correctional Facility (yes, it’s a real place) and faces one count each of unlawful acquisition, possession or transfer of a financial card, and unlawful use of a financial card. All are third-degree felonies. She also faces three misdemeanor charges, including two counts of theft by receiving stolen property and one count of obstruction of justice.
She was released after posting bond a day later.
The ID theft angle is new, but a former corporate investigator for the Wynn told Casino.org that the theft of personal possessions during a tryst is a decades-old and still common Las Vegas crime called “trick rolling.”
“It’s almost the norm in Las Vegas,” said Jonathan Sullivan. “It usually involves prostitution, but not always. I would average at least one trick roll complaint a night. But victims of trick rolls are usually reluctant to report them, and rarely want police involvement.”
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