Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bellagio robber flees with $1.5 million in chips ( Will have a problem redeeming for cash!)

Las Vegas police are seeking a man who robbed a Bellagio craps table at gunpoint Tuesday morning and got away with more than $1.5 million in chips.

Police said a man parked his late-model black sport motorcycle at the north valet entrance of the casino about 3:50 a.m. He entered the casino wearing a white, full-face motorcycle helmet and a leather jacket, police said.

The man approached a nearby craps table and demanded money, which he received, and then left the casino. He fled west on Flamingo Road on the motorcycle, police said.

No one was hurt and no shots were fired, according to Lt. Clint Nichols. The man did not take money from casino patrons and was in the casino for only 2 to 3 minutes.

"He parked, walked in, committed the robbery and left," he said.

Security officers did not attempt to stop the man, who was carrying a handgun, Nichols said.

A casino employee dialed 911 even before the man had left the casino, he said.

"They had a full staff, and they were on it quick," he said.

Nichols said the man took chips from $25,000 to $100 in value. He said the chips will be difficult to exchange for money because of industry safeguards, which he could not disclose.

The suspect, who was described as a white man about 5 feet 10 inches tall and 220 pounds, is also suspected of robbing the Suncoast last week in a similar manner.

About 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, a man wearing a full-face motorcycle helmet held up the cashier cage in the poker room of the Suncoast, taking $20,000, Nichols said.

Although the man committed the robberies alone, Nichols said it's common for criminals to have a "layoff guy" to alert them when there's a large amount of money coming into a casino.

Police are reviewing surveillance footage from the robberies, but said the photos reveal little about the man's identity.

Nichols said $1.5 million was large for a casino robbery, but not the largest he's seen in the last three years.

Casino robberies are infrequent, but not rare, he said. In 2009, there were nine casino robberies in the Las Vegas Police jurisdiction. Tuesday's robbery makes 10 for 2010, he said.

"We're not seeing an epidemic or anything," he said.


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