Aaron Mermelstein Pleads For Police Camera Footage Over Missing $90004 months ago
A misplaced bag, surveillance tapes that police won't make public, and $9,000 in missing cash are at the crux of a petition for release filed by the Florida Civil Rights Coalition on behalf of $25K SHRP High Roller winner Aaron Mermelstein.
The poker pro was at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport 10 months ago on his way to Costa Rica to play in an Americas Cardroom Cage Live event when he accidentally left his bag at the airport. He didn't realize his mistake until after boarding the plane.
Upon arriving in Costa Rica, Aaron phoned the proper authorities and reported his bag missing. A couple of days later, he received word that the bag had been retrieved. He went to Florida to fetch it on his return to the states.
Show Me the Money
The bag contained nearly all of its original contents including poker chips worth more than $7K and Canadian currency of roughly $650, but was missing $9,000 in USD greenbacks. Mermelstein dutifully filed a police report, only to find that the case was assigned to "a detective who was more concerned with proving me wrong than proving me right," he told Cardplayer.
Eventually coming to light over the incident was the fact that Aaron's bag was found by one Deputy Michael Spencer of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, who apparently didn't follow proper procedures once he happened upon the bag.
Mermelstein found out that airport security cameras spotted Deputy Spencer peeking inside the bag and taking it inside a restroom before returning to where it was found some minutes later and proceeding to make the necessary report. Spencer maintains that there wasn't any USD inside, nor was there any when another officer inventoried the bag's items.
Something to Hide
The police refuse to release surveillance tapes regarding the incident, including Deputy Spencer's body cam footage that he conveniently turned on after coming back from the restroom.
With more than $3.2 million in career cashes, one would think that Mermelstein would let the matter go instead of pressing on. Not so, said the poker pro.
“We want the tapes," Aaron stated. "We need to see everything that happened, because clearly something did happen. It’s important to me that I fight it so that this kind of thing doesn’t happen to other people. We should be able to trust the police.”
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