‘Stolen Wishes’: Sad Video Shows Man Stealing Coins from Tropicana Casino Fountain

A woman wrote on Facebook that she's his sister, and he's struggling with addiction.

The young man is seen bending into the wishing fountain outside a row of restaurants at Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City.

He's holding a plastic cup in one hand. What's he grasping for? A moment later, a video reveals the answer. He pulls out a handful of change.

And then he's gone. 

The shameful video was captured Sunday by Zachary Pickert, who uttered an old movie reference as the man scurried away into the bright lights of the casino.

"Those are other people's wishes, sir," Pickert, a comedian, can be heard saying, repeating a line from "The Goonies."

Later, in an interview with NBC10, Pickert looked back on the incident with more somber emotions.

"I actually thought it was pretty sad," he said. "I kind of hope the guy maybe sees it and gets himself some help."

A Tropicana spokeswoman said the man, who has not been identified, was arrested Tuesday by Atlantic City police. But the department could not confirm any arrests as of Wednesday morning. 

Another video was posted in the comments section of Pickert's Facebook post. It's unclear if it's the same man.

The coins in the fortune are occasionally collected by Tropicana staff and donated to a charity that aids casino employees in need.

"The coins from our wish fountains go to Tropicana’s HOPE (Helping Our People in Emergencies) Fund, a fund that provides temporary financial assistance for Tropicana employees who are experiencing hardships due to a fire, natural disaster, loss of a loved one, or unusual tragedies," Tropicana Atlantic City General Manager Steve Callender said in a statement. "We are making a donation to replace the coins taken from the fountain."

A woman posting on a local news site's Facebook page that shared Pickert's video said the man is her brother. He is in the throes of addiction, she said.

"It's sad that I have not seen my brother in over 7 years and this is how he appears! Thank you to all the real people who understand that people have problems!" she wrote. "An addict who has a wonderful family who could not save him!!!!"

NBC10 reached out to the woman who didn't want to comment further.

Pickert, who lives in Margate, described it as "a tragic look" for Atlantic City. He said that he also has struggled with addiction and hopes the man gets some help.

As the days have gone by, Pickert said he regrets the way he spoke of the man as he took the video.

"The more I watched it and the more traction it got on the internet, the worse I felt," he said. "I hope he gets some help. I hope he maybe gets a glimpse of himself and (decides) it's time to make a change."

If you or someone you know is grappling with addiction and would like to seek help, call the State of New Jersey's Facing Addiction Task Force at 844-732-2465 or visit ReachNJ.gov.

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