You are going to read the story of a carpenter turned a famous sharper due to his mastery of the trade and a zest to take risks. At his time, he was a great pain in the neck for the famous French police department which investigated gambling frauds.
His name was Pierre Dugal, and he lived in the French Riviere in the 19th century. So powerful his skills were that he could make virtually anything imaginable with wood. Being risky in grain, he decided to make a leap into a different realm outside of what is legal.
Pierre paid visits to luxurious Monte Carlo casinos and played baccara there. Shortly before the institutions shut their doors, which happened in the morning, he hid in the loo. The history doesn’t tell us how exactly he managed to conceal his presence from the watchful guards, but he somehow got away with it. Perhaps he just sat on the pan with his legs lifted, and the guards never opened the doors. After that, he waited when the last janitors would leave the building.
As soon as he was left alone, Dugal got down to work. Helped by a hand-held torchlight, he turned smallish grooves on the inner reel of the roulette for the ball to stop in certain cells. Given that he was a big-time carpenter, his work went completely unnoticed.
Pierre never played the roulette himself, however, not to draw any suspicions. Instead, he commissioned his relatives whom he trusted completely. Thus, in different times he sent his four wives to play and win, at the very least.
In those years, casino security services were poorly equipped to detect fraud and were much less experienced than nowadays, so each time Dugal got away scot-free. He made a fortune and could have the life of Riley till the end of his days, but the passion for women and booze played a trick on him.
One of his wives got jealous of Dugal’s crush with yet another mistress and went straight to the police department which investigated gambling frauds. There, she tipped him off in every detail. Pierre was arrested and put behind bars for several years. On release, he got divorced, went bust, then got married again and, again, made some grooves in the reels of French roulettes which his next wife played.
However, he perhaps was the type who never learn from their mistakes of the past. Pierre got into a love affair again, and this time another wife tipped him off to the police. They say that the walls of his cell were made of wood, but this ingenious carpenter either couldn’t or didn’t want to find a way of escape.
The irony is that even this second imprisonment was powerless against Dugal’s inadvertence, so the same story happened to him the third time. He couldn’t survive this sentence and died incarcerated. Nevertheless, for his dubious and fraudulent feats he became notorious all over the world. Notorious – but unhappy.