The History of Famous Casino Heists
Casinos are known for their tight security measures and advanced technology to prevent theft or robbery. However, despite the advanced security measures, casinos have been targeted by several high-profile heists in the United States.
Casino heists have led to multi-million dollar losses and the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators. This article will discuss US history’s most notorious casino heists, including the Stardust Casino robbery and the Bellagio heist.
Early 20th Century
The early 20th century saw a rise in casino heists, with some of the most notable in Las Vegas. One of the earliest recorded casino heists was the $1.5 million robbery of the Desert Inn Casino in 1955. A group of men broke into the casino and stole money from the counting room. Although the authorities arrested several suspects, they could not secure convictions due to insufficient evidence.
Stardust Casino Robbery
One of US history’s most notorious casino heists was the Stardust Casino robbery in 1992. Heather Tallchief, a former casino employee, led a team of five men who robbed the Stardust Casino of $500,000 in cash and $1 million in jewelry in Las Vegas. Tallchief and her accomplices could steal the money by hijacking an armored car delivering money to the casino.
After the heist, Tallchief fled the country and remained a fugitive for over ten years. Law enforcement eventually apprehended Tallchief in the Netherlands and extradited her to the United States for trial. Tallchief pleaded guilty to the robbery and received a five-year sentence.
Bellagio Casino Heist
In 2010, a man wearing a motorcycle helmet robbed the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas of $1.5 million in chips. The robber entered the casino, approached a craps table, and pulled out a gun. He then took several high-denomination chips and fled on a motorcycle.
The casino’s surveillance cameras captured the robbery, revealing the perpetrator as Anthony Carleo, the son of a Las Vegas judge. Law enforcement later arrested Carleo, and he pleaded guilty to the robbery. A judge sentenced him to nine to 27 years in prison, depending on his behavior while incarcerated.
Impact of Casino Heists and the Gambling Industry
Casino heists significantly damage the reputation of casinos and highlight security weaknesses in the gambling industry. Heists can also lead to losses of millions of dollars, which can have a significant impact on a casino’s bottom line. As a result, casinos have implemented advanced security measures such as biometric identification systems and increased surveillance to combat these risks.
Lesser-known or Unsolved Casino Heists
While the Stardust Casino robbery and the Bellagio heist are among the most well-known casino heists, several lesser-known heists have taken place in the US. One of these heists occurred at the Soboba Casino in California in 2007, where thieves stole $1.5 million in cash from the casino’s vault. The suspects in the heist were eventually caught and convicted.
An unsolved casino heist occurred at the Circus Circus Casino in Las Vegas in 1993. Thieves stole $3 million in cash and chips from the casino, but the crime remains unsolved.
Accomplices or Co-conspirators Involved in Casino Heists
Most casino heists involve multiple perpetrators and accomplices or co-conspirators. For example, several accomplices assisted Heather Tallchief in planning and executing the robbery of the Stardust Casino. The team of five included her boyfriend, Roberto Solis, and his brother. After the robbery, the team split up and fled the country, with Tallchief taking most of the stolen money. Solis and his brother were eventually arrested and sentenced to prison for their involvement in the robbery.
In the Bellagio heist, Anthony Carleo acted alone, but he did have help from a friend who was later convicted of helping him sell some of the stolen chips. In the Soboba Casino heist, the suspects were an organised crime group who used inside information to plan and execute the robbery.
Casino heists are a longstanding threat to the US gambling industry. Despite advanced security measures, casinos remain vulnerable to theft and robbery, making implementing robust security protocols to prevent such crimes essential.
Advanced technology and heightened security measures help casinos maintain a safe and secure environment despite the financial and reputational risks posed by casino heists.