About 10 to 20 robberies are reported in Las Vegas each year. Only about 65% are solved. This is a very low percentage, given that bank robberies clear up as much as 80%.
Of course, robberies occur far more often in small casinos than in reputable and world-renowned businesses, as well as in online casinos.
In 2003, Eureka Casino on East Sahara Avenue was robbed six times. This is a record-breaking number of robberies per year in Las Vegas, and subsequently, because of that, the Eureka Casino is one of the safest casinos.
Given that all casinos are located on the Strip, where cameras are everywhere, robberies need very demanding planning.
Let’s take a look at the 10 most remarkable robberies in the last few decades.
Circus Circus (1993)
Heather Tallchief and her boyfriend Roberto Solit stole an armoured car with $ 2.5 million from Circus Circus Casino. They planned to flee to the Cayman Islands. Solis eventually packed most of the money and fled.
After 13 years on the run, Tallchief finally turns herself in. When asked why she had done so, she replied that Solis was using hypnosis and sexual magic to control her. Roberto Solis is on the run to this day.
Bill Brennan was an employee of Stardust Hotel & Casino in 1992. One day he went for a lunch break with $ 500,000 in the banknotes and casino chips he had hidden in his backpack.
Nobody has seen him since. For 17 years, he got on the list of FBI’s most wanted criminals.
One of the cheekiest robberies happened just two blocks from Strip. Two men in motorcycle helmets with shotguns in their hands attacked the Hilton Sportsbook.
They got $ 1 million in cash and chips and then escaped in a few stolen cars that they continuously changed. The robbery lasted just 45 seconds.
MIT Blackjack Team (1980-?)
In this case, it depends on how you look at card counting. It is not a traditional robbery, but in some meaning, they took away money from the casino because of the controversial way of playing.
Till today, this legend of Las Vegas has appeared in several films and books. This is the most successful card counting operation in Las Vegas so far. Thanks to advanced card counting method and a great group of people, this team has earned millions of dollars.
Although this MIT Blackjack Team is no longer playing, it cannot be 100% confirmed that there is no other or even a larger group of MIT people who make their living by playing and counting cards in blackjack.
Bellagio, MGM Grand, and Others (1998-2000)
“To me, everyone in the world is either a hunter or a pray. I’m a hunter, and Vegas’s my prey. I’ll just come to Vegas and take what I want.” These are the words of Jose Vigo.
It is one of the biggest robbers of history. Jose Vigoa has raided the five largest casinos in Las Vegas in 16 months. Later he became the author of “Storming Las Vegas”.
Vigoa was ultimately caught after the robbery of Bellagio. Police chased him at speeds over 100 mph, and the entire chase was broadcast live on Vegas TV.
Vigoa is currently serving a 500-year sentence. Conditional release is unthinkable.
Mandalay Bay (2005)
On March 11, 2005, at 16:00, two men visited the casino. They waited for the cashiers’ exchange and during that time they got to the money and chips in one of the booths.
The men fled in a vehicle that was parked near the entrance with an unspecified amount of money. Neither the police nor the Mandalay Bay casino itself can determine which entrance the robbers used to enter the casino, what booth they robbed, or how they left the casino.
A man with a gun who leapt over the main cash register robbed the casino. The incident happened just after midnight. The man fired at the two guards, but he didn’t hit either. He then left the casino with an undisclosed amount of money. Alan Feldman, the spokesman for MGM Mirage, who owned Treasure Island at the time, described the event.
The jury found guilty of Reginald and Donella Johnson. Three years earlier, Donell himself confessed to a robbery in Treasure Island.
During the confession, Reginald Johnson said he struck the cashier because she recognized his brother from his previous robbery.
Palace Station 2009
In 2009, a man with a semi-automatic shotgun attacked the armoured car in front of the Palace Station casino. The robber pointed the gun on the crew and asked them to let go of the money bags.
The first rumors reported that the robbers had taken over $ 1,000,000. Thieves only got $ 36,000. It may seem unlikely that there were only $ 36,000 in two bags, but that’s true.
It wasn’t a successful robbery at the casino, but it was one of the very largest heists in Las Vegas. On July 4, 1981, the Hole in the Wall gang broke into Bertha’s Gifts casino, located at 896 East Sahara Ave. All the perpetrators (Frank Cullota, Lawrence Neumann, Wayne Matecki, Leo Guardino, and Ernie Davino) were caught and arrested.
Most members of the Hole in the Wall gang served as inspiration in the Casino movie.
This is not a robbery in a casino, but it is undoubtedly one of the most significant criminal cases of this decade in Las Vegas.
On September 12, 2007, a group of suspects went to Palace Station. They rented a room and then took away several sports trophies from the hotel. Former American football player O. J. Simpson led the event. He was also caught three days later and sentenced to 9 years in prison.