Shell game shyster shut down

A crafty crook tricked tourists into playing a rigged game at Fisherman’s Wharf, but he could not fool a jury, prosecutors said Wednesday.

An Oakland scammer has been convicted of luring unwitting visitors and residents into losing their cash on a shell game at Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris said in a statement.

Larry Michael Barnes, 56, had participants placing bets on which of three bottle caps contained a ball after he shuffled them. Barnes used a sleight-of-hand trick to fool bettors into believing the ball was under a certain bottle cap, Assistant District Attorney Seth Steward said.

He could make a participant lose whenever he wanted, Steward said.

He had two buddies chip in on the scam. They would either act as lookout for the presence of cops, or they would play the game and win, convincing passersby that they could win as well, Steward said.

“You think your chances are pretty good,” he said. “Even if you guess right, you’re going to lose money.”
.
Cops arrested the scammers Dec. 26 at Fisherman’s Wharf. They found the crooks with more than $1,200 cash, prosecutors said.

A San Francisco cop testified during Barnes’ trial. He demonstrated the defendant’s shell game to the jury.

It took the jury only 15 minutes to find Barnes guilty of one count of unlawful gambling and three counts of obtaining money by fraud or trick, prosecutors said.

Barnes faces up to six months in the county jail, a fine and restitution. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 4.

“We have no tolerance for individuals who prey on our residents and visitors,” Harris said in a statement.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsLocalSan Franciscoshell game

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco police investigated the scene of a police shooting near Varney Place and Third Street on May 7. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD shooting may prompt new body camera rules for plainclothes cops

Police chief says incident ‘should not have happened’

Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference about a $12 billion package bolstering the state’s response to the homelessness crisis at the Kearney Vista Apartments on May 11, 2021 in San Diego, California. (K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)
Newsom promises sweeping change in California’s $267-billion budget

John Myers Los Angeles Times California would embark on the most ambitious… Continue reading

Despite the pandemic, San Francisco has ended the fiscal year with a budget surplus. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Better than expected tax revenues leave city with $157.3M surplus for this year

As the fiscal year nears an end and Mayor London Breed prepares… Continue reading

Passengers board a BART train bound for the San Francisco Airport at Powell Street station. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
BART bumps up service restoration to August 30, offers fare discounts

Rail agency breaks pandemic ridership records, prepares to welcome more passengers

Ashley and Michelle Monterrosa hold a photo of their brother Sean Monterrosa, who was killed by a Vallejo police officer early Tuesday morning, as they are comforted at a memorial rally at the 24th Street Mission BART plaza on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
State Department of Justice to investigate Sean Monterrosa shooting by Vallejo police

Attorney General Rob Bonta steps in after Solano County DA declines case

Most Read