A preliminary hearing in the case of Jeremy Francom, whose November 4 arrest just outside the Rio Convention Center triggered a lockdown of the World Series of Poker’s primary parking lot while the series continued inside, has been pushed back. Francom will now appear in Clark County Court on Wednesday, December 9, as he faces 11 counts related to nine robberies of commercial businesses throughout the greater Las Vegas area in a case that briefly became the most-talked about happening at the WSOP.
In updated court developments, Francom was able to motion for and be granted reduced bond, allowing him to be freed pending the early-December hearing. He is subject to continuous electronic monitoring and has also been ordered to not go near any of the nine businesses he allegedly robbed between September 24 and November 3, the day prior to his arrest.
Francom had just begun his first day of work at the 2021 WSOP as a stringer for PokerGO, though his arrest was destined to occur, and his alleged crimes had nothing to do with either PokerGO or the WSOP. Las Vegas Metro Police Department officers tackled Francom as he exited the Rio Convention Center’s main player entrance during a late-afternoon break. Twenty or more players watched as Francom was tackled and arrested by at least five LVMPD plainclothes officers. Other officers, both plainclothesed and uniformed, had monitored Francom inside the WSOP for at least a couple of hours before his arrest.
Adjusted version of Francom’s identification and locating emerges
Misinformation reigned supreme in the immediate aftermath of Francom’s arrest, including the unfounded notion that there was a bomb threat or similar involving the Rio or the WSOP. Instead, LVMPD investigators had finally identified Francom as the probable suspect in the string of robberies, in which the robber entered the business and used implied deadly force, in the form of a covered package that he claimed held an active bomb, which would be detonated if the victimized businesses failed to comply.
Though Francom’s last robbery occurred just the day before his arrest at the Rio, he was actually identified through DNA samples gathered from a robbery committed two weeks earlier. On October 23, a suspect later identified as Francom spent some time sitting in a chair in a Walgreen’s pharmacy on W. Charleston Blvd. in Las Vegas, roughly five miles northwest of the Rio. DNA samples were then collected from that chair.
Though full details have yet to be reported publicly, the delay between the October 23 crime and Francom’s November 4 arrest was likely due to the time consumed by processing possible samples and matching results against Nevada’s existing DNA records. Francom has a previous criminal record for robbery and burglary crimes committed in 2005 and 2007, and his DNA may have been gathered and recorded in connection with those cases.
Officers trailed Francom to Rio and WSOP
Following Francom’s identification as the likely suspect in the robbery string, investigators also identified his vehicle, a white Hyundai Sonata that was seen on security footage at another of the connected robberies. Why authorities did not arrest Francom at his residence is unclear, but they instead trailed him to an unknown destination, which turned out to be the Rio, on November 4.
Francom turned out not to have identified or located via facial-recognition software, as told to this writer by multiple people with some knowledge of the situation, who spoke only anonymously. That in turn may have been conjecture or a misinterpretation of whatever information was provided by the officers on the scene that day at the Rio. In actuality, Francom went abruptly missing just hours into his first day of work at the WSOP, his whereabouts unknown to PokerGO for up to an hour following his arrest outside the venue.
Meanwhile, the LVMPD officers were forced to lock down the Rio Convention Center parking area as they identified and then searched Francom’s Sonata. Their search yielded the faked bomb he allegedly used. No details have emerged as to whether Francom created something that actually looked bomb-like, or merely kept the package covered, like the metaphorical bank robber who pretends to have a gun in their pocket.
According to local news reports, Francom has already admitted to randomizing his robbery targets in the hope of evading detection. Francom also admitted to taking extreme steps to hide his identity during his robberies but was foiled by the DNA matching.
Featured image source: Las Vegas Metro Police Department.