Happy New Year: Tahoe rings in 2008 (video)
Temperatures in the low teens didn’t stop tens of thousands of revelers who packed the Stateline casino corridor to ring in 2008.
Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini estimated the size of the crowd at about 30,000 as of 11:30 p.m. But that number swelled to about 45,000 in the moments before midnight, as crowds poured out of the casinos and into the street to greet the New Year.
That crowd size was about the same as last year, Pierini said. So was the number of arrests, which stood at about 20 as of midnight for the Nevada side of the state line, mostly due to “intoxication-related” incidents.
But scuffles and arguments seemed less prevalent than last year, the sheriff said.
“All in all, it’s a pretty orderly crowd,” Pierini said.
The number of arrests on the California side of the state line was not immediately available.
The crowd of young people lined the center of Highway 50 from MontBleu
and Horizon Resort Casino to Harrah’s and Harveys, all the way to the state
line. The highway was closed to vehicle traffic at about 9 p.m., with traffic rerouted onto Lake Parkway.
Parkas and winter boots were the preferred attire for celebrants; party dresses were nearly non-existent in the chilly night air. A few wore more creative outfits: one man covered himself in what appeared to be aluminum foil, while another reveler wore a gorilla costume.
The relatively mellow New Year’s festivities came just hours after a robbery of the Wells Fargo branch inside Raley’s supermarket in the Stateline area.
At about 3:15 p.m. a man reportedly gave a Wells Fargo Bank teller a note and said the box he was holding contained a bomb, according to police.
The man made off with an undetermined amount of money, leaving the box behind, police said. A bomb squad unit from Douglas County destroyed the box. It was unclear this morning whether the box contained any explosives.
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