Published on: October 27, 2023 at 08:04 pm.
Last updated on: 28 October 2023 at 07:51 h.
Editor’s note: “Vegas Myths Busted” posts new entries every Monday, with a bonus Flashback Friday release. Today’s post in our ongoing series originally ran on December 9, 2022.
Mark Twain once said: “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”
According to one persistent Vegas legend, stupid bandits once robbed a Vegas Chips truck, thinking it carried casino chips. They jumped into the truck with driver Rodney Dwayne Punt, 30, brandishing knives, and forced him to drive it to a remote area. Here, they had Punt open the back of the truck, revealing several sealed cardboard boxes.
“Open it!” One of the bandits ordered.
But when they saw that the shipment was Vegas potato chips, the bandits became angry. They then beat up Punt and robbed him of all the money he had: $680.
The crime made national headlines in September 1992. Police were as convinced as the media, and asked for the public’s help in finding the attackers. So was Vegas Chips, which paid $10,000 for a TV commercial exploiting the crime.
“Taking control of our trucks will only delay service to the stores,” said a representative, holding a newspaper in one hand and a bag of Vegas chips in the other. “And it’s not fair to others. By the way, our new motto is ‘You’ve got to catch them, not hold them.'”
The story collapsed
But just a week later, the authorities opened the case. They determined that Pont, who had three prior felony convictions for theft, invented the robbery to help pay off gambling debts.
Pont faced the possibility of five years in prison but argued for it to be reduced to two years to reduce the attempted embezzlement charge. His public defender told the judge that Pont had a gambling problem, for which he was receiving counseling. Pont served only one year, according to Nevada state prison records.
“We’re just glad it wasn’t true, because we didn’t have people that stupid.” Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Carl Frogg told Los Angeles times In a story published on September 19, 1992.
But the real story attracted only a fraction of the attention that the fake story did, which is why you can still revisit it online. And Vegas Chips still runs its commercials after The trick is revealed.
“We’re still going to campaign,” said Kevin Holden, former Vegas Chips president. KSNV-TV last year. “Actually, when it became a hoax, the story got bigger. “Because it had a little twist…that’s why we got into all the Smith’s grocery stores in Nevada and all the way up to Utah, and we actually got into all the Vons supermarkets in California.”
The original Vegas Chips company went out of business in the 1990s. Another company revived the name a decade later, but it has also since discontinued.
Just the facts
By the way, Mark Twain never said, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” This is another myth.
What he actually said, as quoted by Rudyard Kipling in his 1899 collection of notes, letters and essays from Sea to Sea, was: “Get the facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you like.”
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