• Man brings more than cash to casino

    By: Richard Thompson


    Rochester, Wash. - Thurston County prosecutors say 29-year-old Christopher Lathrop went inside the Lucky Eagle Casino near Rochester on May 28 with a .45 caliber handgun in his waistband and a duffel bag stuffed with cash.

    According to court documents, security staff at the casino watched Lathrop pull the handgun from his waistband and put it into the duffel bag. When officers confronted Lathrop they found $66,000 inside the bag. They also recovered the handgun that had been stolen in Oregon and a baggie containing methamphetamine.

    Lathrop's mother, Rose Vaida, spoke to KIRO-7 South Sound reporter Richard Thompson on Tuesday.

    When asked where the $66,000 had come from, Vaida initially said her son had probably got the cash from selling a food cart that he manufactures, but later Vaida said Lathrop had called her and told her he won most of the cash at the casino.

    "He called and said he had just won $40,000 and he was on his way home," she said.

    Casino operators, however, contend Lathrop entered the casino with the cash and did not win it gambling.

    While investigators work to find out where the cash came from Lathrop is being held on $25,000 bail on charges of unlawful possession of a stolen firearm and unlawful possession of methamphetamine.

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