Charlie and the casino shake-down

This doesn’t really have anything to do with either the Johnny Depp or Gene Wilder versions of Roald Dahl’s books about Charlie Bucket and Oompa-Loompas, but something about this story seems positively Wonka-esque. Someone tried to blackmail Sydney’s Star City casino with chocolate. Seriously.

From the Australian:

SYDNEY’S Star City casino was the prime target of an extortion bid that forced the recall and destruction of more than three million Snickers and Mars chocolate bars, New South Wales police revealed today.

Chocolate bar manufacturer MasterFoods received five threatening letters this month.

One of the letters claimed seven chocolate bars had been contaminated, another contained a bar contaminated with a pesticide while another threatened a Sydney organisation unconnected to MasterFoods.

The organisation until now had not been identified.

Detective Superintendent Peter Cotter of the Robbery and Serious Crime Squad Command, today confirmed Star City also received several letters.

He said MasterFoods had been used as a vehicle for the threat.

Dept Supt Cotter said the extortionist’s threat remained unclear but the public and casino staff and patrons were not at risk.

“We are now at a stage where we are keen to clarify the direct communication between Star City and the author (of the letters),” he said.

“While Star City have attempted to comply with directions, some of the demands remain unclear and need to be clarified.”

Det Supt Cotter said the two companies received several “rambling” letters in the mail this month, some handwritten and others typed.

Casino prime target of extortion bid

This is one of those things that proves that the truth is, indeed, stupider than fiction. Not to make light of product tampering, but I am a little amazed that anyone over the age of, say, ten, would think about using chocolate as weapon. Maybe the extortionist is a “child at heart” or something. The fact that the police are talking about rambling letters written by hand might be an indication that this person is a bit unwell.

Still, three million chocolate bars destroyed. They take consumer safety very seriously, and rightfully so. Maybe this will persuade some of the kids to enjoy healthy snacks of natural fruits and vegetables instead of processed sugar nuggets.

This is as good a time as any to mention the whole Willie Wonka/gambling connection. Wasn’t the whole “golden ticket” thing a lottery? Technically, could Wonka and the Oompa-Loompas have been indicted under the 1961 federal statutes that criminalized interstate transmission of gambling materials or, for that matter, the century-old laws that ban international lottery tickets? An interesting avenue to explore, no doubt.

Spread the love