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Gainesville man charged in Atlantic City casino thefts
Acuna Gustavo
Gustavo Acuna

A Gainesville man is in an Atlantic City, N.J., jail, charged with stealing more than $70,000 worth of poker chips from two casinos this week.

Gustavo Acuna, 22, was one of two Georgia men arrested early Tuesday by New Jersey state police in connection with a pair of snatch-and-run thefts at closed poker tables.

State police Detective Brian Polite said Acuna and 55-year-old Richard Newman of Lawrenceville pried open a glass "chip float" used to protect poker tables not in use early Monday at the Showboat Casino in Atlantic City. The men dashed out of the casino with $100 and $500 chips valued at $18,600, police said. The theft was recorded on a surveillance camera, Polite said.

The next morning, $53,550 worth of chips were stolen in the same manner from a closed poker table at the nearby Caesar’s Casino in Atlantic City, Polite said.

A detective assigned to the city’s gambling businesses recognized video of the suspects from the previous morning’s theft, Polite said.

Later that morning, the detective was on patrol when he came across the suspects by chance as their car was stopped in front of him at a traffic light, Polite said.

The two men were arrested, and a search of their car turned up more than $66,000 worth of cash and poker chips as well as stun guns, Polite said.

Acuna and Newman were charged with theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

They remained in the Atlantic County Jail on Thursday.

According to Hall County court records, Acuna’s last known address was in the 2900 block of Mustang Drive in Gainesville. In July 2008, he was charged with possession of cocaine.