The Wacky But Very Real Story Behind The Harvey’s Lake Tahoe Bombing

New locally-produced documentary details the story with archival footage and contemporary interviews

By kncitom on February 28, 2023
Harvey’s and Harrah’s resort hotels on Lake Tahoe, in Stateline, Nevada, August 1974, 6 years before it was destroyed by an extortionist’s bomb. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)

In August of 1980, South Lake Tahoe was brought to a standstill when an anonymous caller announced that a 1000 pound bomb had been snuck into Harvey’s Casino. The bomb was part of an extortion plot by a former “high roller” at the casino who believed it owed him for all the losses he had incurred over the years.

If you were around then, you probably remember the story well. The hotel was evacuated, as were all other hotels, businesses and homes in the immediate vicinity of Stateline. Meanwhile, explosives experts working to dismantle the bomb were astounded at how fool-proof it was. And while all that was going on, the bomber’s plot to arrange a bizarre midnight money drop via helicopter in the Sierra foothills went awry when his accomplices allegedly got drunk and forgot batteries to a strobe light they were supposed to activate!

There’s a new documentary out about this case, made by local filmmaker David Manoucheri in cooperation with KCRA 3 News (which, full disclosure: is a KNCI content partner). Scouring archival footage and arranging contemporary interviews with many of the players in this story, Manoucheri and his team have put together a fascinating look into how the situation was handled so that nobody was killed or injured. It also delves into the mindset of the bomber, who was arrested a year later after an anonymous tip, and features his surviving son, who was an unwilling participant in his father’s nefarious scheme. 

Check out the interview Pat and I did on our Facebook page with David recently here 

And then watch the documentary on KCRA’s streaming app, Very Local, which is available on all devices and via Roku TV. It’s tremendously well-done and a great watch for anyone into true crime, the history of Lake Tahoe, and/or both! 

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