updated 8/9/2007 11:12:25 AM ET 2007-08-09T15:12:25

Guests: Stephen A. Smith

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Tonight, what has been described as good news coming out of Utah, where six coal miners have been trapped 1,500 feet underground since Monday morning.  NBC‘s Jennifer London is live in Huntington, Utah.  Jennifer, so how good is this news really?

JENNIFER LONDON, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Dan, just moments ago, we heard another press briefing from the mine‘s owner, Robert Murray, and he sounded optimistic.  He said a couple of things that were sort of leading to these feelings of optimism.  One, he said that he was very concerned about the ventilation and whether or not there was ventilation and air getting into the mine and perhaps getting to those trapped miners, who are 1,500 feet below the surface.

He said after spending some time in the mine today, he says he is now feeling very optimistic that there is ventilation getting into the mine.  He says that makes him feel more confident that that ventilation is, in fact, getting into the cavity, the chamber where these six men are trapped.

He also said that they had made some progress today.  It‘s slower than they would like, but still it is progress with regard to the aboveground drilling operations that are going on there, using very heavy machinery, and they‘re trying to drill holes from the ground level down to the 1,500 feet.  They‘re trying to help improve the ventilation.  They‘re also trying get some equipment down there.  They mentioned some cameras and other equipment, phones, any sort of communication equipment so it may put them in touch with these miners.  He also said they would use it to get them any food, water, that sort of thing.

ABRAMS:  We also know, Jennifer, that they‘ve got a big, big drill that they‘re using, that they say they‘ve been pleased about the progress they‘ve been making with that drill going down.  But the big question everyone is asking, is there anything, anything today that has led people to think that these miners are alive, that they survived the collapse?

LONDON:  Dan, three days into this rescue operation, and they still have had no communication from the six men.  Now, Robert Murray keeps saying there‘s air down there, and he affirmed that today.  He says there‘s water down there.  They can go for days, days, days, he keeps telling us.  But they‘ve not heard from these men.

So is there anything specific to lead the rescuers to believe the men are alive?  No, it doesn‘t seem as if there is.  But I can tell you that the townspeople are saying publicly that they are holding out hope.  They‘re not willing to give up.  They are praying that these men come out alive.  And they are hoping for any word that the rescuers have made contact with the six men.

ABRAMS:  And this guy holding a lot of the press conferences, Murray, seems a little wacky to me.  So, you know, look, I know a lot of lives are in his hands right now.  I hope he steps up to the plate there.  Jennifer London, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And that‘s it!  Beals (ph).  And Bonds hits one hard!  (INAUDIBLE) It is out of here!  Seven-fifty-six!


ABRAMS:  Barry Bonds last night hitting his 756th career home run, putting him ahead of Hank Aaron on the all-time home run list, baseball, and arguably sport‘s most coveted record.  But every time you hear about Bonds and the record, the conversation turns to steroids.


BARRY BONDS, NEW HOME RUN KING:  This record is not tainted at all. 

At all.  Period.  You guys can say whatever you want.


ABRAMS:  So we ask, what‘s the evidence against him?  My take.  There‘s no question Bonds is one of the greatest players to ever take the field, but there is almost no question Bonds used drugs to make him the player he has become, and that matters.

The evidence is based in part on the testimony of what we‘ll call witnesses.  For example, Patrick Arnold (ph), the chemist who created the once undetectable steroid THG.  He was convicted in a steroid investigation, told HBO that Bonds was, quote, “on the program.”  Arnold said, quote, “I find it very hard to believe that Barry was not aware what he was taking.”  Kimberly Bell, Bonds‘s ex-girlfriend for years, told “The San Francisco Chronicle, “He told me that steroids had probably caused an injury and that he would have to be more careful in the future.”

Two “San Francisco Chronicle” reporters wrote a comprehensive book called “Game of Shadows,” based on accounts and grand jury testimony from former players, senior people at the company that supplied steroids, and even Bonds‘s trainer.  Their conclusion, that he used the drugs in virtually every conceivable form—injection, pills, liquid under his tongue, various creams.  The authors say by 2001, Bonds was using two designer steroids, as well as a human growth hormone.

And then there‘s the physical evidence.  When Bonds was 26 years old, he weighed 190 pounds and hit 25 home runs.  When he was 36, he weighed 228 pounds and hit 73 home runs.  That‘s almost three times as many as he hit 10 years earlier, when he was in what would be most people‘s prime.  During that span, he grew one full inch, his head grew one hat size, his feet almost three shoe sizes.  And since Bonds joined the Giants in 1993, his jersey has gone from a 42 to a 52.

Bonds has cheated the game of baseball, and most importantly, he‘s cheated the fans.  Steroids don‘t just make you stronger, they make you faster.  They make you a better athlete.  This is, in my view, a great shame to the game of baseball.

But here now is someone who probably knows a lot more about this than I do.  It‘s ESPN‘s Stephen A. Smith.  Stephen, thanks for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.

STEPHEN A. SMITH, ESPN:  No problem.

ABRAMS:  All right, do you disagree with me?  I mean, I think that there is an enormous asterisk next to his name.

SMITH:  I disagree with you.

ABRAMS:  Tell me why.

SMITH:  Well, first of all, I—if you put a gun to my head and you said to me, Are you a betting man, I would bet that Barry Bonds used steroids.  So in that regard, I don‘t blame you for feeling the way that you feel because there‘s a lot of circumstantial evidence against him.

But the reality is that he is on that baseball field, and considering the preponderance of evidence that you just so eloquently quoted, I ask you this question.  Why was Bonds still in uniform?  Why was he allowed to eclipse the greatest record in the history of sports?  Why has he not been suspended?  Why have they not booted him out of baseball?  Why has he not been incarcerated by the federal government because that would mean he lied to a federal grand jury, if, indeed, your assertions are absolutely correct?

The reality is, is that despite the circumstantial evidence and the preponderance of it that appears to be against him, none of it can be definitively described as fact.  And because of that, that‘s why I say you can put the asterisk next to it, but a huge one?  I‘m sorry, I‘m not with you there.

ABRAMS:  Stephen, I would say blaming baseball is like blaming the victim in a criminal case.  I mean, the bottom line is, sure, you‘re right, we could sit here and we could have a talk about Bud Selig.  We could talk about what should have been done.  We could talk about when they implemented their steroid program.  We could talk about when they started imposing punishments, et cetera.  Fine.  All fair discussions.

But it doesn‘t address the simpler question of Barry Bonds now holding what is arguably the most coveted record in all of sports, and that‘s a bad thing for sports and a bad thing for baseball.

SMITH:  Well, hold on.  First of all, I want to give you credit where credit is due for twisting it up a little bit because the reality is, is that I‘m getting back to my point.  I wasn‘t blaming baseball for anything.  What I‘m saying is there is no definitive evidence because if there were, he would have gotten booted out and he would have never eclipsed the all-time home run record.

And when you bring up baseball, let‘s keep something in mind that the people out here who are Bonds supporters continuously repeat to us.  During Mark McGwire chasing the single season home run record, and thereafter, when Barry Bonds captured three MVP awards, steroids was considered to be something that had infested the sport of baseball.  When you take that into account and still and all you can‘t get the goods on this man, all I‘m trying to say is there‘s some questions there.

ABRAMS:  Wait.

SMITH:  So for people to speak definitively amazes me.

ABRAMS:  Well, wait, wait, wait, wait.  Look, I mean, you‘re not going to deny—I mean, you even said...

SMITH:  I believe—I believe he did it.  I‘m not denying that.

ABRAMS:  Right.  OK.  All right.  OK.

SMITH:  But I believe, I don‘t know.

ABRAMS:  But look—but look, Stephen, you would agree that the evidence—I mean, it‘s not just the physical evidence.  Again, I tried to break this down the way a lawyer might.  It‘s not just the physical evidence.  It‘s not just that he‘s much, much bigger than he used to be.

SMITH:  Sure.

ABRAMS:  It‘s not just that he grew and his head size grew...

SMITH:  Sure.

ABRAMS:  ... and he‘s hitting more home runs than he ever did.

SMITH:  Right.

ABRAMS:  No.  It‘s not just that, it‘s the witnesses‘ accounts. It‘s the former players.  It‘s the people at Balco.  It‘s the accounts that—the leaked grand jury testimony.  I mean, for you to say, Oh, well, you know, if this had been true, then baseball would have taken action—people don‘t get caught some of the time.

SMITH:  Well, first of all, what I‘m trying to say, considering all the evidence you threw out there—and by the way, please don‘t give me the spurned lover, Kimberly Bell.  Who cares what she has to say.  Let her pose in “Playboy.”  That‘s what she‘ll be known for.  People will look at her.  I don‘t want to hear anything she has to say.  She‘s a spurned lover.  Let‘s dismiss her.

ABRAMS:  All right...


SMITH:  Anything else that you want to bring into account, all I‘m trying to say is, considering the preponderance of evidence that you brought up, it would seem substantial enough for baseball to act on it.  They haven‘t.  Why is that?  Not to mention one other key thing that you keep bringing up here...

ABRAMS:  Money.

SMITH:  Money.  Exactly.  So baseball, knowing that this is the steroids era, if there are an abundance of players in major league baseball purportedly who have used steroids themselves, then why can‘t we just call this the steroids era and say Bonds was just better than all the rest, and leave it alone?

ABRAMS:  Stephen Smith would have been a great lawyer.  Thanks a lot, Stephen, for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.

SMITH:  No problem.  Take care.

ABRAMS:  Stunning new details tonight in the search for little Madeleine McCann, the 4-year-old British girl who was believed to have been kidnapped from her room while on vacation with her parents in Portugal.  A new theory has emerged that she may have died in the room that night.  Forensic tests are being conducted tonight in Britain on tiny blood spots just recovered from walls of the room where Madeleine was last seen.

Joining me now, Clint Van Zandt, the former FBI profiler and MSNBC analyst.  All right, Clint, you know, this sounds incredible, right, that suddenly, there‘s new evidence.  There‘s blood on the wall.  There‘s a new theory.  You don‘t buy it.

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER, MSNBC ANALYST:  Now, you know, we got to separate what we know from what the tabloids are telling us.  And we can‘t get confused by the two.  We know this little girl disappeared.  We know her parents have a big responsibility because they left her and her two brothers in a room by themselves for upwards of half an hour or more.  So you know, God bless them, they‘ve got this terrible thing to carry the rest of their life.

But what is being reported, the tabloids are suggesting, is that blood spatter has been found on the wall, that the Brits finally were able to come in and help the Portuguese.  They brought one dog that sniffed blood and they brought a cadaver dog.  The dogs came in, said, Hey, there‘s something on the wall.  So then the Brits closed everything off.  They got luminol, and they said, Look, we found blood.  The cadaver dog also registers positive.

But Dan, this is a hotel room that‘s been in existence for seven years.  It‘s been three months since the authorities turned it back to the hotel.  How long could the blood have been there before, after?  We don‘t know.  DNA is going to tell us.

ABRAMS:  And look—and there‘s definitely a motive here for the Portuguese authorities to be blaming and saying, Oh, you know, look, you know—but look, before we get to that, I want to ask you—update—we talked about it the other day, about a milkshake that someone believed may have been consumed by little Madeleine.  A witness said, I think that it was her.  They took DNA on the glass from that milkshake.  What did they find?

VAN ZANDT:  Yes, Dan, remember the number 200.  That‘s the number of people in prison who were convicted of a sexual offense or murder based upon eyewitness testimony and DNA has subsequently turned them loose.  So the police took that glass.  This eyewitness, child psychologist, said, I know that‘s Madeleine.  I‘m a child psychologist.  How that makes her a good witness, I don‘t know.  But she says, That‘s Madeleine, 100 percent.

The police get the glass.  They do DNA off the glass, and they come up with male DNA.  Now, that doesn‘t say it wasn‘t Madeleine.  It says that whoever these two adults, man and woman, were, may have handled that glass.  But it sure says there‘s no concrete evidence to say that Madeleine did.  And as you know, Dan, there‘s been hundreds of sightings of a pretty blond-haired little girl all around the world.  None of them have led to Madeleine yet.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Clint Van Zandt, as always, thanks a lot. 

Appreciate it.

VAN ZANDT:  Thanks, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Up next: “DATELINE‘s” Chris Hansen, known to some for confronting pedophiles, now delves into the scary underworld of human trafficking as an American family fights to rescue a member of their own family.

And later: Phoenix police hunting a serial rapist who preys on young girls from single-parent families when the girls are left home alone.  Dog the bounty hunter, Dwayne “Dog” Chapman, joins us to talk about that case.


ABRAMS:  We‘re back.  An American family gets a frantic call from a loved one.  Turns out she‘s been captured by human traffickers.  “DATELINE NBC‘s” Chris Hansen takes us along on the high-risk search to get her home.


CHRIS HANSEN, “DATELINE NBC” (voice-over):  October 5, 2006.  Troop Edmonds and his ilippine-born wife, Ravina (ph), are at home in Oregon when they received a panicked call from Malaysia.

TROOP EDMONDS, UNCLE OF TRAFFICKED WOMAN:  And all of a sudden, my wife‘s cell phone rings.  My wife gets really upset.

HANSEN:  On the other end of the line, their 22-year-old Filipino niece, Loni Ahercito (ph).

EDMONDS:  She was scared, crying, and in total desperation.

HANSEN (on camera):  And what did she say?

EDMONDS:  Get me out of here.

HANSEN (voice-over):  Then someone on the other end takes the phone away from Loni.

EDMONDS:  She said, If you want your niece back, you have to send us $1,200, and we‘ll give you a bank account to send it to.  And she hung up.

HANSEN:  It sounded like a kidnapping, but Edmonds learned his niece had fallen into the shadowy world of human trafficking.

AMB. MARK LAGONE, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT:  In essence, it‘s slavery.

HANSEN:  Ambassador Mark Lagone heads U.S. efforts to combat human trafficking, where women, even children, are lured into schemes often resulting in sexual exploitation.  He says it‘s one of the fastest growing forms of international organized crime.

LAGONE:  There are between 500,000 and 1.1 million people who are trafficked across borders from country to country.

HANSEN:  That‘s every year.  And Filipinos like Loni are a frequent target.  She had thought she was being recruited as a singer, and all her uncle knew was that Loni was in Malaysia, unable to leave.

EDMONDS:  That‘s all I got.  But then I called my friend Jerry (ph) up.

HANSEN:  Jerry is Jerry Howe (ph).  He spent 26 years as an FBI special agent, working everything from counterterrorism to organized crime and nearly 100 kidnappings.

(on camera):  You guys just going to go over there and get her?


HANSEN:  For a week, they plotted and planned.  And eventually, in a high-stakes rescue, they found Loni and brought her home.  Her kidnappers remain free, and the human trafficking continues with other young women and children at risk.


ABRAMS:  “DATELINE NBC‘s” Chris Hansen joins us now.  Chris, thanks a lot for taking the time.  We appreciate it.  All right, look, Chris, a lot of people know you from “To Catch a Predator,” where you end up confronting potential pedophiles, asking them the tough questions, et cetera.  But I would assume confronting one of these human traffickers is that much more dangerous.

HANSEN:  Well, you just don‘t know what you‘re walking into.  In this particular case, both when my producer, Adam Sarowski (ph), confronted one of these guys at a police station and I later confronted one in front of his business place, you just don‘t know who they‘re connected with, how much power they have.  So what we do is we try to get in there, do it, get the tapes and get them back to New York as quickly as possible.

ABRAMS:  How did you know where to go?  I mean, you‘re talking about the Philippines.  I would assume that you had to sort of link together a lot of clues.  But how did you figure out, Where do we go when we get there?

HANSEN:  Well, you know, part of it is just running into some lucky breaks.  You know, Loni was missing.  She was able to get a phone call out to her uncle.  He recruited his old buddy, an ex-FBI agent.  We found out about this.  They let us go along.

But all they knew when they got to the Philippines was, you know, this girl was missing.  They had a lucky break there, getting on to the recruiter.  The recruiter was in town.  The police arrested her.  She gave them the location in Malaysia.  but when they got there, it was a dry hole, nothing there.  So the investigation had to continue from there.

ABRAMS:  Now, Chris, she had called and asked for help at one point, but I understand that when she got home, it was a process, that she may have been brainwashed, effectively.

HANSEN:  Well, I think on a couple of occasions, you know, the traffickers had their claws into her, and they said, Look, you call back, you tell them everything‘s fine and you want to stay.  And that‘s, in fact, what she did, and that was tough to do.  Even in a police station, when Loni‘s uncle and his buddy, the former FBI agent, were there, suddenly, she‘s sitting next to the trafficker, and she doesn‘t have a problem, she doesn‘t want to leave.  But the uncle knew that she was tense.

And finally, the former FBI agent, Jerry Howe, says, Hey, look, why don‘t you question them apart?  You know, the Malaysian police had them in the same room.  Said, Oh, yes, good idea.  So they moved the alleged trafficker to another room, and then suddenly, she starts to say, you know, I want to go home.  I want to get out of here.  Then another fight starts over the passport and the contract.  It was amazing to see it unfold.

ABRAMS:  Is this primarily trafficking for the purpose of sexual slavery, Chris?

HANSEN:  It can be sexual slavery.  It can also be construction work or factory work.  The State Department says that, you know, perhaps more than a million people are trafficked across international borders each year, and it‘s for all kinds of things.  The key here, though, the reason why so many of these people get hooked into it is they‘re vulnerable.  They‘re poor.  You know, Loni lives in this little home with her family, four or five people in a room the size of your bathroom, and they rent out the upstairs.  And when these people came to her and said, Look, you can make big money being a singer in Malaysia, we‘ll give you the training and a place to live and a salary, you know, a young woman is going to jump at that.

ABRAMS:  Chris Hansen, thanks a lot for taking the time.  You can catch the entire hour tonight on “DATELINE NBC” at 10:00 PM.  Thanks a lot, Chris.

HANSEN:  Thank you, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Still ahead: Arizona police on the hunt for a serial rapist accused of attacking young girls in their homes.  He apparently waits until the single parent is gone before entering the home.  Bounty hunter Dwayne “Dog” Chapman talks about that case and his own recent brush with the law.

But first, FOX News offers a revealing look at its reporters, next in “Beat the Press.”


ABRAMS:  Time for tonight‘s “Beat the Press, our daily look back at the absurd and sometimes amusing perils of live TV.  First up: I guess Diane Sawyer should have known there was a chance this could happen when they decided to interview the man believed to be the sailor kissing the nurse in the world famous Times Square shot at the end of World War II.


DIANE SAWYER, “GOOD MORNING AMERICA”:  You bet you can hug me!



ABRAMS:  OK.  That was just the beginning.  Now it‘s time to send the kids out of the room.


SAWYER:  And we‘re going to go out into Times Square to the very spot...


SAWYER:  ... where history was made.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What about a kiss?

SAWYER:  Oh, why not!


SAWYER:  How often have you used that line?


ABRAMS:  Notice he wiped his mouth before he got started?  He was getting all ready for it.

Next up: Over on Fox, I always find it interesting how and when they choose to remove their banner at the bottom of the screen.


NEIL CAVUTO, “YOUR WORD”:  Your security could—could—be at risk. 

Laura Ingalls (ph) in New York with the very latest.  Hey, Laura.

LAURA INGALLS, FOX CORRESPONDENT:  Hey, Neil.  Well, the United Nations employee that we‘re talking about here is accused of using UN letterhead...


ABRAMS:  I‘m not saying I know for sure why they do it, but let‘s just say it happens a lot.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  ... Mannequins direct line.  American (INAUDIBLE) are scheduled to appear anytime now in federal court here in New York.


ABRAMS:  That on-screen information is important to viewers. 

Apparently, not so much so for certain reporters.

Finally, you may have heard about MSNBC‘s big ratings win over CNN for the month of July, and it seems that‘s really smarting over at CNN.  It‘s so bad that according to Multi-Channel (ph) News, they actually called the Nielsen company, who does the ratings, to complain about how we characterized our win and apparently demanded a clarification.  So we did.

We didn‘t beat them in the key demographic for three hours from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM for the month of July.  No, we beat them for seven hours, from 7:00 PM to 2:00 AM.  So that includes all primetime on the West Coast, as well.  We apologize to anyone who thought our victory was only a three-hour win, and thanks to CNN, they say our victory is old news and yet they just keep making it new again.

We want your help beating the press.  If you see anything amusing,

absurd, just plain wrong, or right, in the press, e-mail us, Beatthepress -

all one word -- @MSNBC.com.  Please include the show, the time you saw the item.

Up next: Arizona police on the hunt for a serial rapist who preys on young daughters of single parents.  We‘ll talk to the bounty hunter, Dwayne “The Dog” Chapman up next.

And later: The robbery was well planned, and that‘s what police are saying tonight about a brazen casino heist as an employee ran off with $1.5 million.  We‘ll take an inside look at how casinos catch criminals on the inside, coming up.




DUANE “DOG” CHAPMAN, BOUNTY HUNTER:  We‘ve got a warrant for your arrest, boy.  Get his arm!  Get his arm!


ABRAMS:  Bounty hunter Duane the Dog Chapman is with us in a moment, but, first, the case we‘re going to ask Dog about, a serial child rapist on the loose in Arizona, preying on young girls as young as 12 by spying on them until their parents leave for work.  Then he apparently breaks into their homes to sexually assault them.  Five girls have been attacked in the town of Chandler, Arizona, since June of last year.  The police believe the attacker is actually living, possibly working among them. 

Detectives have been flooded with over 1,300 tips.  Earlier this month, the community actually erected a billboard displaying a giant-sized police sketch of the suspected child rapist, advertising a $25,000 reward for his capture. 

Joining us now is Sergeant Rick Griner with the Chandler, Arizona, police department.  Sergeant, thanks a lot for taking the time tonight.  We appreciate it.  First, let me ask you about the M.O.  How does he supposedly do it?  Who does he target? 

SGT. RICK GRINER, ARIZONA POLICE DEPARTMENT:  Well, we‘ve had five attacks in the last year, like you have said.  The age of the victims have been between 12 and 14.  The first four attacks, he was targeting single-parent residences, and he would attack after the parent left early in the morning to go to work. 

The latest attack that we had, June 8th of this year, the grandparents were the caregivers.  The grandparents were actually in the front patio area of the house or trailer when he came in through another door and assaulted the victim while the grandparents were outside.  So the first four attacks happened early morning; the latest attack happened about 9:00 at night. 

ABRAMS:  So he‘s conducting surveillance on these houses, right?

GRINER:  Right, we do believe that he is conducting surveillance on the houses.  He knows when the parents leave.  He knows the most opportune chance for him to attack without getting caught. 

ABRAMS:  One girl was sleeping in her bed and awoke to find him over her? 

GRINER:  That‘s correct.  One of the attacks, the girl was asleep in her room when the attacker came into the house, that‘s right. 

ABRAMS:  Now, there has been a lot of tips.  You don‘t have anything concrete as far as I know yet.  But there was someone who believes that they saw this guy in their yard recently? 

GRINER:  Yes, we had a report on Saturday morning at about 2:15 in the morning of a suspicious person who had jumped a fence.  The victim was outside smoking a cigarette early in the morning.  The suspect jumped the fence.  She was scared, went into the house, called the police department, and then we responded with numerous units and other agencies into the area to secure it.  We did a very methodical search, and the suspect had escaped.  We don‘t know if it was him or not, but based on the description, it sounded like it could be him. 

ABRAMS:  And he is threatening these young girls often with a weapon?

GRINER:  That‘s correct.  In all five assaults, he has threatened them with a weapon. 

ABRAMS:  Does he actually have a weapon or does he claim to have a weapon? 

GRINER:  No, he has displayed a weapon. 

ABRAMS:  A gun? 

GRINER:  We‘re not disclosing what that is. 

ABRAMS:  Fair enough.  All right, Sergeant, thank you very much for taking the time.  We appreciate it. 

GRINER:  Thank you for having me. 

ABRAMS:  All right, let‘s bring in Duane the Dog Chapman, author of the new book, “You Can Run, but You Can‘t Hide.”  Dog, it‘s great to have you back on the show.  We‘ll talk about the book in a minute, but first let me just ask you about this case. 

You‘ve got this guy who‘s apparently conducting surveillance on the house.  The authorities are looking for him.  I would think this is the kind of guy, since he‘s doing it all in a particular area, they‘re going to catch soon. 

CHAPMAN:  Well, I agree.  I think that the main thing, of course, is to see what he looks like.  The only thing I don‘t like about police sketches is they seldom look like the guy, so I would like, you know, probably get the victims together, maybe take them to a mall, and say, “Pick out a guy that looks similar or just like this predator.” 

It sounds like this guy has got a habit, you know, every couple months he hits.  Now, for him to start hitting at night means that he‘s scared.  The police officers in Arizona, you know, I salute them.  They‘re one of the finest in the country, but they‘ve gotten very close.  So him doing the crime down in the morning hours, during the daylight, he‘s switching now to nighttime. 

I believe that he‘s watching.  I don‘t think he‘s like in a baseball team or watching the kids.  I think he‘s just the neighborhood watcher.  This guy, being a predator, you wonder, you know, why did that guy rob the bank when he knows there‘s a camera there?  Why he did is the drive.  He‘s got something inside him driving.  This drive is double on rapists.  You know, they don‘t care if cops are almost even watching. 

ABRAMS:  So you think he‘s going to do it again, even though his face is on a big billboard in the town, we‘re putting his face on television, you still think he‘s going to strike again?

CHAPMAN:  Oh, yes.  You know, I‘ve arrested these sexual predators. 

It‘s one of the most heinous crimes there is.  And the drive is incredible.  I mean, they‘re worse than people on addictive drugs.  The sex addict is like driven.  The rapist is driven with this unbelievable drive that they will take chances like a bank robber when there is a camera looking at him. 

ABRAMS:  All right, speaking of sex predators, Dog, the reason you got in trouble in Mexico was you were going after this sex predator, Andrew Luster, who was about to be—was convicted, fled in the middle of the trial when things were looking terrible for him.  You were in large part responsible for finding the guy, and then you get yourself into legal trouble in Mexico, and finally we find out recently they‘ve dropped the charges.  How do you feel about it? 

CHAPMAN:  You know, I thank God it happened.  We were charged down with a minor crime, deprivation of liberty.  Four years later, you know, how it got blown up to kidnapping and conspiracy, we don‘t know.  I don‘t think we want to blame anybody.  My attorney—you know, my attorney in Hawaii, Brook Hart, is doing a fantastic job.  Jim Quadra in San Francisco, you know, has hired our Mexican attorneys that are some of the best in the country. 

ABRAMS:  And now the charges are all—it‘s all clean, all dropped?

CHAPMAN:  Dan, the judge in Jalisco, the city that we were charged with the infraction, dropped all charges.  And, you know, Mexico is not like it used to be, Dan.  You can‘t show a Mexican police officer your driver‘s license and a $100 bill.  You know, that‘s the previous administration.  The new administration over there is cut and dry.  They‘re trying to keep it as legal and as modern as they can.  And I just, you know, thank God that the Mexican government came through with the decision we were looking for and dropped all charges.  We‘re very...

ABRAMS:  Does that mean you really can‘t do any more hunting in Mexico, right?

CHAPMAN:  Well, you know, I wouldn‘t do that right now in Mexico at all until they come up with some better way.  But that doesn‘t mean all my guys have to flee there, because there are still Mexican police on the look. 

You know, this Arizona guy is very close to that border.  You know, I think that we need to find out for sure, Dan, what this guy looks like for sure.  Is there a tattoo?  Is there a scar?  Is there a mark?  There‘s got to be something that distinguishes him from anybody else.  Another thing that can make him so brazen, Dan, is if the poster that they‘ve got up doesn‘t look like him very much, then he‘s going to be like a weasel and laugh and, “Ha ha ha, you know, they don‘t got me.”  You see what I mean?

ABRAMS:  Dog, I‘m running out of time.  I want to ask you a question specifically about your new book, a memoir about you being on the wrong side of the law for a long time, right? 

CHAPMAN:  Correct.  Well, the new book, Dan, is, “You Can Run, But You Can‘t Hide,” and it is a life story, the true life story of me from about 12 years old up to, you know, tonight almost.  But the book is going fantastic.  We‘re very proud of what it‘s doing.  You know, I had a number-one best author help me with the book.  My agent, my wife...

ABRAMS:  But the part of the book—Dog, I apologize for interrupting, because I‘m almost out of time—but a lot of the book is about the fact that you were on the wrong side of the law for 23 years.  What turned you around? 

CHAPMAN:  Well, what turned me around was doing time.  I didn‘t like the Texas penitentiary.  I did 18 months in there, and, you know, that was it.  I said, “This is terrible.  I don‘t want to go back.”  So, you know, I went the complete opposite way, that was towards law enforcement. 

ABRAMS:  Duane Dog Chapman, congratulations on the new book.  It‘s always good to have you back on the show.  We appreciate it.  You‘re looking good. 

CHAPMAN:  Thank you, brother.  And aloha to you, Dan.  It‘s good to see you. 

ABRAMS:  Aloha to you.  Good to see you, Dog. 

CHAPMAN:  Thank you, brother. 

ABRAMS:  Not a word that I use often. 

Coming up, a daring casino heist, as an employee takes $1.5 million after disabling security cameras.  We look at the case and take you inside the casinos.  They probably should have known better.

And later, you‘ll meet the youngest member of Hollywood‘s paparazzi, this 14-year-old star stalker joins us, coming up.



GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR:  It‘s never been done before. 

BRAD PITT, ACTOR:  You want to knock over a casino?  Three casinos?

ELLIOT GOULD, ACTOR:  You‘ve got to be nuts. 

PITT:  Exactly. 

CLOONEY:  This place houses a security system that rivals most nuclear missile silos. 

MATT DAMON, ACTOR:  A smash and grab job, huh?

PITT:  Slightly more complicated than that. 

CARL REINER, ACTOR:  We‘re just supposed to walk out of there with $115 million in cash without getting stopped? 



ABRAMS:  In “Oceans 11,” it was a high-tech, well-thought-out plot with a big group of criminals.  In Riverside County, California, last week it was a daring casino employee working with one cohort who attempted a high-stakes heist at the Soboba Casino.  According to investigators, a video surveillance technician for the casino disabled the cameras, then entered the vault on the pretense of fixing the equipment. 

Once inside, Rolando Ramos allegedly threatened a co-worker with a gun, bound him with tape, before bagging $1.5 million.  Officials eventually caught up with Ramos and his accomplice, but this “MSNBC Investigates” would seem to show the casino should have seen something like this coming. 


JOHN SEIGENTHALER, MSNBC HOST (voice-over):  Each year, about 500 arrests are made for various crimes in Nevada‘s casinos.  About 40 percent of those arrests are of employees. 

JERRY MARKLING, NEVADA GAMING CONTROL BOARD:  There‘s a great amount of temptation available.  These casinos have money on every table.  You know, when you put that much money in front of someone, they can‘t help but sometimes think, “Well, I could probably get away with taking this one chip or something like that.”

SEIGENTHALER:  That‘s what this dealer must have been thinking while working at the Stratosphere Casino.  He was suspected of stealing from his own table. 

DERK BOSS, DIR. OF SURVEILLANCE:  We‘re going to verify that they are, in fact, cheating.  We‘re going to set up our camera shots, and we‘re going to surround him with cameras, and we‘re going to determine exactly what‘s going on to the extent possible. 

SEIGENTHALER:  Every major casino has a surveillance room, and it‘s here where the catching begins.  Watch the blackjack dealer.  He probably knows there‘s a camera trained on his table, but maybe he just thinks it‘s his lucky day.  With his left hand, he grabs a $1,000 chip, then hides it under a playing card.  He pretends to scrape his shirt, dropping the chip in his pocket. 

After he tries to get somebody to cash in the chip for him at another casino, the Stratosphere is ready for him when he returns to work the next day, and it doesn‘t take long to relieve him of his duties.  The dishonest dealer is escorted off the casino floor and prosecuted for theft.  A new dealer is instantly installed at his former post so the business of Las Vegas can go on uninterrupted. 

ANDY ANDERSON, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR:  It is hard for the average person to understand how much money is moved around in a casino. 

SEIGENTHALER:  The hard count room is where coins are counted and sorted.  That‘s also what goes on in what‘s called the soft count room with paper money.  And that‘s also the location of another casino employee scam.  Employees who work in the money room, called the cage, are often issued a uniform with no pockets.  That‘s so there‘s no way to pocket any of the bills, no place to stash the casino‘s money while you‘re working.  But where there‘s a will to try to beat the system, there‘s a way. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What these people will do is they will actually sew pockets into the uniform without them being noticeable. 

SEIGENTHALER:  Here, this casino employee stuffs the stolen cash into her hidden pocket. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And generally that‘s where the money goes. 

SEIGENTHALER:  She was caught and later pled guilty to a misdemeanor.  Sometimes the theft is so brazen, it‘s practically beyond belief.  This casino employee‘s job is to open a row of slot machines and collect the bills from them.  But he‘s making a collection for himself.  He folds up a wad of bills and, in plain sight, stuffs them into his jeans.  He was sentenced to four years in prison. 

BURNEST DAWSON, SURVEILLANCE MANAGER:  Cheats do get away often just for the mere fact that the smart ones, they‘ll take the one hit and then leave and maybe come back, but you can rest assured we will get you in the end. 


ABRAMS:  Joining me now is George Joseph.  He is the president of Worldwide Casino Consulting.  He served as the director of surveillance for Balley‘s, Paris, Aladdin, and a lot of casinos in Las Vegas. 

All right, thanks a lot for coming in.  Appreciate it.


ABRAMS:  All right, first, let‘s talk about this latest case in California, where the employee basically disables the cameras, goes to the vault, takes the money.  How does that happen? 

JOSEPH:  Pretty clever kid.  You know, casinos are highly regulated and have to have cameras in all locations.  It‘s not like having a convenience store or a bank, where if the camera goes down, you can just do business as normal.  In a lot of cases in a casino, you might have to shut the games down if the cameras went dead. 

ABRAMS:  That‘s what they did in “Ocean‘s 11.”  They disabled the cameras.  This guy disabled the cameras.  You‘d think that they‘d be able to say, “Hey, we‘ve got to figure out a way to deal with this.”  So this guy is the camera operator.  He‘s the video surveillance guy.  He cuts off the cameras, claims he‘s going to fix them, and then takes the money. 

JOSEPH:  That‘s the clever part.  That‘s the clever part, because they did have in place a method to fix it.  He couldn‘t go into the count room unescorted.  He had to have security with him.  But at a certain point, Dan, every security effort, every security system fails at the point where you have to trust another human being.  No one could foresee the fact that this kid is going to pull a gun or tie people up or pepper spray someone.  And the casinos have to, by regulation, have a certain amount of cash on hand dependent on the number of table spaces they have times the maximum bet so that you always know there‘s a ton of cash. 

ABRAMS:  It‘s got to be such a temptation when you‘re working in a casino and there‘s so much money there. 

JOSEPH:  That‘s the working commodity is money.  And, you know, you see it all the time, surveillance kids, surveillance techs, people counting the money see the cash.  And it‘s not just like you were talking about Frank Abagnale, the check kiter.  It‘s not a piece of paper with a number written on it.  It‘s actual green cash. 

ABRAMS:  Do they still get away with it?  I mean, this guy was caught. 

Does anyone get away with a huge heist of a casino? 

JOSEPH:  You know what?  In the old days, it might.  There was a great story sort of like this back in the day when I first started in the ‘70s in Vegas, where they burrowed a hole into the wall of a casino and got the money out the back end, never got caught.  But there‘s a camera every four inches...

ABRAMS:  Not so much anymore. 

JOSEPH:  ... in a casino today.  This kid was smart, had guts to do

the thing, but dumb as a door.  He‘s going to do time now because we knew -

they knew exactly who he is. 

ABRAMS:  George Joseph, thanks a lot for coming in. 

JOSEPH:  My pleasure. 

ABRAMS:  Appreciate it.

JOSEPH:  My pleasure.

ABRAMS:  Up next, a headline-making kiss with Britney Spears.  Prince William‘s girlfriend kisses her chance to win a boat race goodbye.  And a guy you definitely wouldn‘t want to kiss after you see where his toothbrush has been.  Tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” is next.



ABRAMS (voice-over):  Time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this

8th day of August, 2007

Our first winner, Thai elephants, pounding the pavement, distributing flyers with their trunks to inform voters of an upcoming referendum vote on a new constitution. 

Our first loser, elephant party presidential candidate Mitt Romney for pronouncing his sons were supporting the nation by pounding the pavement to help him get elected.  Asked if his sons were serving in the military, Romney said no, but that campaigning for him was national service because they think he would, quote, “make a great president.” 

The second winner, a monumental Lego sculpture which washed up on a beach in the Netherlands Tuesday.  No one knows where the oversized plastic sculpture came from, and its creator remains anonymous. 

The second loser, Philip Kolinsky, wishing for his anonymity after being convicted of stealing from veterans.  The 73-year-old was ordered to wash down a monument with a toothbrush while wearing a shirt that I.D.‘d him as a thief. 

But the big loser of the day, British paparazzi, for sinking Kate Middleton‘s hopes of participating in a boat race across the English Channel.  Inundated by photographers, the crew couldn‘t properly practice.  To keep the cameras away, Prince William‘s longtime on-and-off girlfriend dropped out. 

The big, quote, “winner” of the day?  College student Matt Encinias, who‘s weaseling either big bucks or just big publicity out of his ever-so-brief relationship with American tabloid princess Britney Spears.  The paparazzi-loving 21-year-old graces the cover of this week‘s “Us Weekly,” divulging all the dirty details of his late-night romp with the sinking star. 


ABRAMS:  Well, my next guest wasn‘t poolside for that picture.  How could he be?  It was late, and there was a lot of drinking going on, and Austin Visschedyk is only 14.  But that hasn‘t stopped him from snapping photos of Britney, Lindsay and Paris that have fetched him thousands of dollars.  The teenage paparazzi is with us.

Hi, Austin.  Thanks for coming in.


ABRAMS:  All right, so there‘s a lot of jostling that goes on.  I‘ve seen this, you know, outside, there are people elbowing each other trying to get the shot.  You‘re 14 years old.  How you deal with that?  Do you say, “Hey, look, I‘m 14, don‘t hit me”?

VISSCHEDYK:  Well, I‘m not going to be a little wimp out there, you know?  If somebody pushes me, I‘ll push them right back.  It all has to do with two people, so you can‘t just play it with one person. 

ABRAMS:  How did you get started?  I mean, were you one day just shooting pictures and someone bought them?

VISSCHEDYK:  About two years ago, I was shooting pictures of animal life and still life of flowers and different things.  Then I just kind of thought that I could make some money at this and actually go out at night and shoot some pictures in the daytime.  And it‘s worked out pretty well. 

ABRAMS:  You told me you‘re going to a movie premiere later tonight and you‘re going to shoot some pictures.  How much money could you make—would you expect to make tonight?

VISSCHEDYK:  Usually on a premiere, you won‘t make anything, because it‘s a red carpet, unless somebody‘s, you know, doing something not normal.  You usually won‘t make any money.  But it‘s just fun to go out.

ABRAMS:  Do you go, like, try and find out where they‘re on vacation and take your family with you and go on vacation?

VISSCHEDYK:  Of course.

ABRAMS:  No, come on.

VISSCHEDYK:  Of course.

ABRAMS:  You really say, “Mom, hey, listen, I hear Jennifer Aniston is going to Barbados, can we go?”

VISSCHEDYK:  Not as far as Barbados, but maybe Hawaii or just those...

ABRAMS:  Really?


ABRAMS:  We‘re looking at some of the pictures that you‘ve taken, by the way.  But the family is on board?  They say, OK, you know...

VISSCHEDYK:  Oh, they‘re fine with it.  They back me up 100 percent. 

ABRAMS:  A lot of the stars, they all complain about the photographers, and they say, “We‘ve got to get away.  We want our privacy.”  Do they treat you a little bit differently?

VISSCHEDYK:  I mean, I have an advantage just because of my size and age.  But in a sense, I don‘t like having an advantage, because I just want to feel like...

ABRAMS:  Want to beat them fair and square?

VISSCHEDYK:  Yes, I just want to be like everybody else. 

ABRAMS:  Austin, thanks for coming in.  It‘s good to meet you.  Good luck.


ABRAMS:  That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Up next, the Doc Block.  Thanks for watching.  See you tomorrow.



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