Casino bomb threat 'test' leads to evacuation, possible lawsuit

Casino bomb threat 'test' leads to evacuation, possible lawsuit
JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) – An Indiana man’s attorney claims his client was handcuffed and escorted from a Poker table, questioned for hours, and accused of making a bomb threat at a casino. Now, the lawyer tells Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino and the Indiana Gaming Commission  the man intends to file a lawsuit.

According to a Harrison County Police Department case report, officers responded to the casino around 10:40 p.m. on July 10 on a report of a bomb threat. Dispatchers told police a woman had called and reported a bomb in a hotel room and said the room was wired with explosives that would trigger the bomb if the hotel room door was opened.

Hotel security evacuated a portion of the hotel around the room and bomb specialists responded to the casino.

Hotel security determined Ken Surface had checked into the room earlier in the evening. Officers found Surface playing Texas Hold 'Em and handcuffed him. Jeffersonville Attorney Larry Wilder, who now represents Surface, says officers took the man to a room and interrogated him for two hours about the threat. Officers stated Surface was very cooperative with the investigation and agreed to let officers search his hotel room and vehicle. When nothing turned up in their search, officers released him.

Wilder says on July 11, Horseshoe's General Manager John Smith contacted his client, told him the Casino had been duped by a hoax, and said they were sorry he was detained.

Police said the call, which lasted approximately 4 minutes and 47 seconds, was routed through Horseshoe Casino's Philippines Office.

Harrison County Sheriff Rodney Seelye told Surface in a letter the investigation had determined the threat was a test call and neither Horseshoe's security staff nor the Harrison County Sheriff's Department was aware of the test.

Asked about the incident, Horseshoe Casino responded Monday with this statement from Smith:

"Our teleservices vendor received an anonymous call indicating a bomb had been planted at the property. The call contained enough specifics that Horseshoe Southern Indiana implemented threat protocol in place which is designed to ensure the safety and security of our guests and team members. We contacted law enforcement authorities immediately, who took charge of the investigation and evacuation. We did not learn until the following day that the threat was a test conducted by our third party vendor, which had failed to notify Horseshoe Southern Indiana or our Corporate Call Center that the threat was a test. We are as surprised and disappointed as anyone that this occurred, but are very proud at the way the matter was handled. We are vigorously investigating the facts surrounding this occurrence and are reviewing our options with respect to the vendor who initiated this without notification. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused to any of our guests and team members and the law enforcement professionals who assisted with the threat."

Wilder filed a "Notice of Tort Claim" with the state Monday.  In it, he claims Surface was defamed, falsely imprisoned, and subjected to "public


and emotional distress," and planned to sue the casino for "tortious actions precipitated by the reckless, erroneous, and wrongful conduct perpetuated by the Horseshoe Casino and Teleperformance-Cebu."

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