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Vegas casino calls on thief to cash in chips

Las Vegas casino bosses are serving notice to the bandit who stole $1.5m (£972,000) in chips from the Bellagio: try to redeem the chips worth $25,000 soon or they will be worthless.

Bellagio owner MGM Resorts International is giving public notice that it is discontinuing its standard chip valued at $25,000 and calling for all gamblers holding the chips to redeem them by 22 April.

After that, gambling regulators say each red chip with a gray inlay will not be worth more than the plastic it's cast from. "The bottom line is that they're not money," said David Salas, deputy enforcement chief for the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

MGM Resorts first posted notice of the redemption last week in the classifieds of the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper. That's one week after a robber wearing a motorcycle helmet held up a craps table at gunpoint and made off with a bag of chips of varying denominations.

Police and casino officials have been working since the heist on 14 December to try to locate the bandit and keep watch on anyone trying to cash in the chips, which ranged in denomination from $100 to $25,000.

A police spokeswoman said there had been no significant developments in the case since then. MGM Resorts spokesman Alan Feldman said: "It's pretty unusual for someone we don't know to come strolling up with a handful of $25,000 chips."