Monday, March 15, 2010 | 2 a.m.
I love downtown Las Vegas. I’ve lived downtown for 10 years.
But downtown can be dangerous — even for those of us who are familiar with it and stay close to its well-traveled and well-lit areas.
I know because I was mugged in just such an area a few months ago. Maybe it was an anomaly. I’m just here to say it can happen.
After work on a Friday in early December, I went to my favorite Las Vegas pub, the Downtown Cocktail Room, just south of Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. I met a few people there, quaffed a few drinks in honor of my birthday and around 11 p.m. headed to my car.
It was parked at a meter on Carson Avenue, just west of Sixth Street. I have seen derelicts and the homeless pass hipsters and professionals on that sidewalk with never a problem.
I also have seen security guards on bikes riding along the curb, but apparently there weren’t any nearby when I needed them.
I was 10 feet from my car when two young men in their late teens or 20s came across Carson and angled toward me. They pulled black-and-white checkered scarves over their faces and each put one hand in a pocket. They were acting like they had guns. In his other hand, the shorter of the two had a small cloth bag of what looked to be metallic marbles.
“Give us your money.”
I reached in my pocket and came up with only $8. I don’t carry cash, usually, just cards.
They asked if I had a wallet.
Yes, I said.
“But I’m not giving it to you,” I added.
It had my ID in it. I could cancel my cards right away, and they would get nothing, so what was the point? It would be a hassle all the way around.
“Frisk him,” the taller one said.
As the short one walked toward me, I pulled out my phone, told them I was calling the cops and hit 911.
I was whacked in the face with something hard. (I told some people I thought it might have been a high-flying martial art kick, but it was probably the bag of marbles.)
They ran north toward Fremont Street, then west toward the Fremont Street Experience. I ran down an alley to try to intercept them.
When I told this to a county employee later, she asked where I grew up.
“That explains why you ran after them,” she said.
By the time I got to Fremont and Las Vegas Boulevard, police were swarming the area, and I filled in a dispatcher. I tried flagging down a cop, but he drove by.
I walked around a bit, then went home.
I was in shock — not just because my jaw was out of joint (it hurt for two weeks) — but because of where, when and how I had been mugged.
It was not 3 a.m. I was not in a dark area. I was not stumbling drunk.
I’m not “an easy mark.” I’m a fit man. If those “kids” were willing to try me, they would have no qualms about robbing just about anybody.
The lesson I took out of it was not to get too comfortable — even in the place I call home.