Casinos are leisure spaces where large amounts of money are moved, so they have always been a target for thieves and criminals. Security is a vital issue in these gambling establishments, both in physical casinos and online casinos. For this reason, gaming operators mainly focus their investment on security, both in means and in security measures to guarantee the transparency of all activities and the protection of players and highest percentage payout slot machines, although they always go completely unnoticed by customers. Despite this, this investment does not mean that theft cannot occur equally. On this occasion, we present you with some of the most famous robberies in the history of casinos.
The Stardust Heist Casino robbery
Thousands of people try to steal money from casinos almost every day around the world, but most of these people get caught. However, the simplest plots are the most successful and if not ask Bill Brennan, who, without the need for weapons or violence, managed to steal $500,000 from the Stardust Casino in Las Vegas. Brennan, a native of Pennsylvania in the United States, had been working as a cashier in a sports book office at the well-known Stardust Hotel and Casino in Sin City since 1988. An ordinary worker who had applied for a promotion to the position of supervisor, but the manager of the gambling establishment had rejected his request, because he felt he did not have enough experience to take on that kind of responsibility.
To date, the authorities have not yet discovered exactly what happened to Brennan to commit this theft, although many point to that rejection of his promotion as the main motivation. What we do know is that on the morning of September 22, 1992, this worker finished his shift at the Stardust Casino and left the gambling establishment with a bag containing $500,000 in cash and casino gambling chips. Brennan investigated the flaws in the casino’s security system, which did not have the same security measures that are used today. Due to these circumstances, it took the Las Vegas police several hours to discover that it was Bill Brennan who stole the money, enough time for the thief to pick up the stuff from his apartment and leave without leaving a trace.
A mugging for love
It is often said that love should not be mixed with business. However, there are people like Heather Catherine Tallchief who prefer to take risks to keep a love story alive. This woman, barely 21, who was an armored car driver supplying cash to casinos, decided to commit a robbery at the Circus Circus Casino in Las Vegas along with her partner, Roberto Solis, a well-known thief, murderer and poet who was 22 years older than her. On October 1, 1993, Heather left the armored car warehouse with more than $6 million. When she arrived at the back of the gambling establishment, she had $4.5 million left. Steve Marshall and Scott Stewart, the guards who always traveled with her in the armored car, were to deliver $400,000 to five ATMs inside the casino, giving her a margin of about 45 minutes.
After stopping at the Circus Circus, Heather decided to go ahead with the armored car and the $2.5 million inside, leaving the other two guards behind. This is something that is almost impossible to do nowadays, especially because most gambling establishments have given way to online casinos. She then picked up her partner and using a fake nurse’s ID, helped Roberto Solis get to the Las Vegas airport, where they took a private plane they had previously chartered to Denver. However, Heather turned herself in in 2005, after spending most of her time in Europe working in a hotel, as Solis ran off with all the loot the day she learned she was going to be a father.
A robbery without a happy ending
The events at the Stardust Heist Casino and the Circus Circus Casino are exceptional, as in most cases these types of robberies do not usually have a happy ending. A very significant example is the robbery committed by Anthony Carleo at the most famous casino in the world, the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas. In December 2010, at the age of 29, this University of Nevada student parked his black Suzuki at the entrance to the gambling establishment, greeted the security guard and went straight to the craps table with his motorcycle helmet on. Once at the gaming table, he filled his backpack with all the chips he could get his hands on and left the Bellagio Casino without firing a shot, even though he had a gun hidden in his left hand.
A priori, the Anthony Carleo robbery may seem like the perfect robbery, except for one small detail: those chips valued at one and a half million dollars (1.4 million euros) were only valid inside the Bellagio Casino. In addition, the gambling establishment cancelled out the highest chips, those of $25,000, which were also equipped with a radio frequency system. This way, these chips could only be withdrawn by those players who had them before the robbery. When these $25,000 chips (one million dollars) were deducted, Carleo had $400,000 in smaller chips left, although she had to change them inside the casino.
Carleo tried to win as much money as possible at the gaming tables at Bellagio Casino with the smaller chips, but she had no luck. At that point, she resorted to the $25,000 chips and decided to sell them outside the gaming establishment, as they were deactivated. He registered on the TwoPlusTwo poker forum and contacted an interested person. That was his worst move. That forum user was actually a person who knew what had happened at the Bellagio, and wanted to find out if the thief of the chips was him. Finally, Carleo gave herself away by sending him a picture with two of the chips she had stolen, so that user sent the picture to the LVPD and ended up with Carleo’s story.