Poker pro Antonio Esfandiari and his father Bejan lost a little fortune in July after someone broke inside their condominium and managed to open the safe, and on Sunday Arizona police detained a female on suspicion of committing the crime. Svitlana Silva, 46, was booked at the Clark County Detention Center Sunday on charges of residential burglary and possession of stolen property valued at $100,000 and more.
Theft in Excess of $1 Million
According to the police report, the missing valuables included $150,000 cash, between $300,000 and $500,000 in poker chips, a platinum diamond bracelet worth $350,000, expensive watches, Hublot Aerofusion priced at $35,000, a $7,000 Patek Philippe, Cartier valued at $6,000 and a Gucci silver watch worth $2,000.
Detained suspect Silva had access to the residence, Esfandiari father and son told the police. In fact, she used to live with the father for months, being left alone in the combo on several occasions. She also used Bejan’s phone and tablet on a regular basis, with both products having similar codes to the ones on his bedroom door and safe.
Being on the poker scene for nearly 20 years, Antonio Esfandiari amassed more than $27 million in career tournament earnings, winning 3 World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets, among which the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop in 2012 for $18,346,673.
Cash and Poker Chips Buy-In
Police acted on the information provided by the poker pro that Silva recently showed up at a private poker tournament in Las Vegas, information verifiable due to the tournament host keeping tabs of the amount each player used to buy in.
Silva had 4 buy-ins, $5,000, $20,000, and twice $30,000 and she lost all four times, but she did not give up, being driven to a Las Vegas apartment to retrieve a hand-held safe. On her return to the tournament, she used, initially $100,000 in Aria chips, and then $200,000 in Bellagio chips until she finally won and requested to cash out.
Unfortunately for her, before that another player who won was cashed out partly with cash and partly with the chips she brought, a player she later contacted asking to buy the Aria chips back. She even texted him afterwards warning him that he might not be able to cash these chips at the casino if they are reported stolen due to them having a special mark.
Police said Silva, who was tracked to a parking garage at Aria and arrested, was cooperative during the interrogation. She confirmed the living arrangement with Esfandiari father but she added she moved out in March and returned the key, despite occasionally coming to Vegas to stay with him on brief visits.
Silva was identified as a suspect due to the same amount of poker chips from the 2 casinos she used to play at the tournament and the access she had to the residence. Upon her arrest, she had $25,000 pink Bellagio chips and several $25,000 red Aria chips, besides the large amounts of cash in her purse.
Later on, Silva changed her version of the story claiming that before the theft from the condo she walked in on a random guy in their condo and saw that same guy down the elevator with the stolen property.