Few casino heists rival Anthony Carleo’s Biker Bandit Heist of 2010. Wearing his motorcycle helmet, Carleo rode into Bellagio with an arsenal in hand and stole $1.5 Million worth of chips before fleeing back out again with his bounty.
Most casinos can rely on their staff being honest; however, there will always be individuals looking for greater financial gains. Heather Tallchief took advantage of this trust by driving away with an armoured truck full of cash from Circus Circus in Las Vegas in 1993.
1. The Bellagio Biker Bandit
Casinos along the Las Vegas Strip are among the world’s most heavily monitored locations, making robberies rare; when they do happen however, the incidents make headlines and create headlines worldwide.
Anthony Carleo pulled an Ocean’s Eleven-esque stunt when he rode his motorcycle up to the Bellagio valet stand, ran into the casino, pointed his gun at the craps table and took over $1.5 million worth of chips before fleeing along Flamingo Road.
Carleo, son of a local judge, found it challenging to sort and sell such high denomination chips, and it only took him weeks before being caught by undercover police officers who met online with him under false pretenses in order to purchase his stolen chips. Now serving nine-27 years behind bars. Carleo’s story serves as a stark reminder that casino robberies aren’t simple endeavors.
2. The Crown Casino Heist
Melbourne’s Crown Casino witnessed the world’s most successful casino heist ever, an astounding $32 million job carried out by an insider employee who monitored security camera feeds remotely, relaying insights back to high-roller at card tables who then placed bets based on signal received and pocketed huge winnings!
Casino surveillance was able to track winnings and identify both men, and both received relatively light sentences for such serious crimes as gambling.
Motives may not have been quite as strong for this casino heist – money was still at play – but money certainly played a factor. One of the more inventive casino heists ever conducted used laser scanning technology to predict where Roulette balls would land; unfortunately it failed miserably, leading to their capture soon after their second attempt and receiving only a lifetime ban from London casinos as punishment – an extremely lenient sentence by any standards.
3. The Soboba Casino Heist
Contrary to Hollywood movies which depict casino heists as ending with criminals fleeing their hotels guns-a-blazing or fleeing with large sums of cash in hand, real-life casino robbers are frequently apprehended and punished – as was the case with three Eastern Europeans who attempted to rob London’s Ritz casino earlier this year.
Reason for their downfall was straightforward. The men lacked proper permits to enter a casino, in violation of law but thought nothing about this as their focus was only money.
Rolando Luda Ramos was an individual employed as low level security at Soboba Casino in Riverside County, California back in 2007. With only his knowledge and experience he used a BB gun to use as leverage against 10 employees – holding each at gun point until he successfully stole $1.5 Million into duffel bags before fleeing with Eric Alan Magdaleno Aguilera into their getaway car.
4. The Bill Brennan Heist
Ocean’s Eleven may make casino heists look complicated, but simpler tactics have proven effective in real life and sent shockwaves through casinos. One such example is Bill Brennan’s Heist at Stardust Sportsbook where an employee disappeared without trace after their shift had concluded and never surfaced again.
Brennan may have acted spontaneously or intentionally, but his knowledge of the casino’s security system allowed him to avoid detection by cameras and security guards. He managed to take out $500,000 worth of cash and chips before fleeing, although he has yet to be located.
Heather Tallchief made headlines for committing a notable heist when she decided to steal all of Circus Circus Casino’s funds and went on a spree, leading her team of armored car drivers transporting them from casino to bank. Although initially trusted as an employee, Heather eventually turned traitorous by taking all their cash without permission and ended up spending nine years behind bars for this act of theft.