South Lake Tahoe History August 29, 2008

South Lake Tahoe Crime Stories

Yesterday I was perusing through news articles on South Lake Tahoe and ran across some fascinating stuff. A substantial history of crime in Lake Tahoe shouldn’t surprise me too much. I mean they did shoot Godfather II here, and rumors continue to persist that Jacques Cousteau found dozens of mobster corpses intact at the bottom of the lake. I just thought I would have already heard about such things.

Not much of this relates to real estate – just fascinating Tahoe history I thought some readers would enjoy.  Each topic has a link to the article I read online. And not to worry, I don’t think anything this crazy happens in Lake Tahoe anymore.

  • Harvey’s Bombing Memorable 28 Years Later – Did you know that in 1980 Harvey’s Lake Tahoe Casino was victim to, at that time, the largest domestic bombing in U.S. history? A few people, led by John Birges Sr., developed and delivered the bomb in hopes of extorting a ransom. Their plans for retrieving the ransom, however, were so terrible that authorities couldn’t figure out where to drop it. After a day and a half of working on the technologically advanced bomb, bomb experts attempted to detonate a charge that would explode the bomb’s detonator and not the bomb itself. The plan failed. The bomb was surrounded by sandbags. Many believe the Harvey’s building would have been lost completely without them. The explosion would stand as the largest domestic bombing in U.S. history until the incident at the World Trade Center in 1993.


  • Frank Sinatra Jr. Kidnapping – In 1963, the son of famous singer, Frank Sinatra Sr., was kidnapped at Harrah’s. Sinatra’s son was returned to him two days later when he paid a $240,000 ransom. The kidnappers were later apprehended and sentenced to long prison terms.
  • Operation Deep Snow – Federal investigators broke up a cocaine ring in 1989 that led to the arrests of 19 South Lake Tahoe doctors, real estate brokers, casino employees, and even then time mayor, Terry Trupp. This article was published because Trupp passed away last week at the age 65.