Published January 16. 2014 3:00PM Updated January 17. 2014 12:27AM
A poker blogger with a yen for "Star Wars" was charged last month with using chopsticks to dip into a locked box and pilfer some $700 in dealers' tips at Foxwoods Resort Casino, roiling the poker world.
Jay "WhoJedi" Newnum, 41, of Fishers, Ind., who was charged with fifth-degree larceny, has since returned the money, been granted accelerated rehabilitation and announced in a blog post that he intends to "step away from the poker world indefinitely."
State police at Troop E in Montville didn't issue a press release on Newnum's Dec. 16 arrest until Thursday.
"Foxwoods security reported the suspect was fishing cash out of the dealers tip box after a poker tournament," the release says. "Cash was seized into evidence and suspect held on a $500.00 bond."
The court file on Newnum's case is now sealed from public view.
As a condition of accelerated rehabilitation — a pretrial program available to first-time offenders charged with certain, less-serious crimes, he faces no prison time and will keep a clean record if he stays out of trouble.
Word of the theft, which occurred during a MegaStacks tournament at Foxwoods, surfaced last week when the head of the Foxwoods dealers' union discussed it in the first of a string of website posts.
Billy Shea, president of Local 2121 of the United Auto Workers, revealed that Newnum, whom Foxwoods hired to provide online video coverage of the tournament, had been caught stealing "tokes," or tips, from a locked dealers' tip box.
"This individual has been barred by both the Ct State and Mashantucket police," Shea wrote. "I can assure all that this person will never again step foot on Foxwoods property."
Foxwoods management declined to discuss the case or the casino's relationship with Newnum.
"This situation is out of our hands as it has been taken care of by authorities," a casino spokeswoman said.
Shea indicated word of Newnum's actions was being disseminated among other casinos.
Shea's online discussion of the case touched off a flurry of coverage on poker websites, the first report appearing on pokerfuse.com. Shea also drew criticism from those who took issue with his website posts.
On Tuesday, Newnum came to Shea's defense.
"Yesterday, I called Mr. Shea personally. We spoke at length, not about what he had posted, but instead about the reactions from the community," Newnum wrote on his blog, WhoJedi. "I hold no ill will against him, as he simply did what he felt he needed to do as union president."
"Finally, even though I won't be a part of the poker world for now, I'll still be rooting for the industry to continue to grow, expand, and improve, in all the ways that we know it can."