- These daring heists read like something from a movie script
- Audacious robbers stole millions from major casinos
The slick narrative of an entourage of glamorous crooks conning a glittering Las Vegas casino out of millions of dollars sounds like the type of fiction that would spill from the mind of a top Hollywood screenwriter.
The notion of the casino heist being the height of sophistication and cool was popularised by Steven Soderbergh’s critically acclaimed Ocean’s trilogy.
The inspiration for these block-busting titles was based on the daring moves perpetrated by brazen real-life criminals, even if they bore little resemblance to Brad Pitt.
The Stardust heist
From the Vegas Strip, the twinkling diamonds towered high as part of the sign for the iconic Stardust casino and hotel. This was the stage set for one of the greatest casino heists in history.
In September 1992, Bill Brennan, a well established employee of the casino, left his morning shift with a bag of stolen chips and cash which contained in excess of £500,000 dollars.
Nobody suspected or questioned him as he walked out the front door of the casino; the money was taken with no fuss or bloodshed.
Most participants in robberies eventually get caught but not Brennan. His mugshot is still residing on the FBI’s most wanted list, and his whereabouts to this day still remains a mystery after 25 years.
The Stardust heist is considered one of the most stylish robberies of all time due to its simplicity and flawless execution; a nondescript worker disappearing into legend is the stuff from which movies are born.
The Ritz robbery
Known as a British symbol of Edwardian splendour and decadence, The Ritz played host to a robbery that was as elegantly executed as the building itself. Situated in the affluent Green Park area of London, the casino resort was entered in 2004 by a group of people carrying lasers, who then used these devices to leave with £1.2 million from the roulette tables.
The lasers worked by estimating the speed of the roulette wheel and also the likely outcome of the ball. An interesting robbery juxtaposing age and sophistication with technology and shamelessness.
While the odds of getting away with a casino heist are staggeringly small, every year a handful of enterprising or downright desperate crooks convince themselves that they can beat the house and outwit the law. As the foregoing tales show however, even the most ingenious of heists invariably come undone.
If you wanna make millions from a casino, you’re gonna have to do it the hard way: by grinding it out or by getting real lucky at the roulette table.
Circus Casino manipulation heist
A classic tale of manipulation which led to a casino robbery.
Well, that’s the story according to Heather Tallchief, who spent 12 years running from the authorities for stealing $2.5 million. Tallchief worked as a driver for the the security company Loomis, and on October 1st 1993 she disappeared with the weekend’s earnings of the Circus Casino, Sin City.
Tallchief’s was one of few female mugshots to appear on The FBI’s most wanted list; eventually she turned herself in and served a 5-year jail sentence. Her motive for the crime was blamed on her manipulative and abusive boyfriend, Robert Solis.
Solis had planned the heist, leaving her and taking all the money. He has never been caught.
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