Floor Manager Arrested

WHEELING– A floor manager in the gaming area of Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack was arrested at 2 a.m. today after a video surveillance camera allegedly captured the theft of $6,500 worth of gambling chips.

Michael DiTaranto, 49, of 92 Westgate Drive, Wheeling, was taken to the Northern Regional Jail at Moundsville after being charged with grand larceny

A West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation complaint said, “On Feb. 17, DiTaranto did commit simple larceny of goods or chattles of the value of over $1,000, namely 13, $500 casino chips valued at $6,500.”

The complaint says DiTaranto is a floor manager at the gambling facility who approached an employee of the West Virginia Lottery Commission with an alleged business proposition.

According to the complaint, DiTaranto “arranged several meetings with the lottery employee during which he made arrangements to steal an undetermined amount of gaming chips from the casino. The defendant asked the lottery employee to divert the surveillance cameras at a specified time so he could take the chips without being video recorded.

“In return for this action, the defendant stated that he would pay the lottery employee half of the amount that he is able to steal. The defendant stated that he would give the lottery employee a sign to let him know when to divert the camera coverage and, when the lottery employee sent him a text message, that would let him know when the cameras were moved.

The complaint states shortly after 2 a.m., DiTaranto gave the designated signal to the lottery employee.

“When the defendant thought the cameras were diverted, he took 13 purple gaming chips, valued at $500 each, totaling $6,500,” the complaint said. “The defendant had previously made a hole in the lining of his suit jacket that he had described to the lottery employee into which he was to conceal the gaming chips.

The complaint says, upon approaching DiTaranto, officers found 13 gaming chips in his jacket lining.

“The defendant immediately stated that a patron had paid him these chips because he owned him money,” the complaint said.

Ohio County Magistrate set bond at $30,000 this morning during a video arraignment.