There is a long list of popular movies and books involving casino heists. It seems that as far as entertaining crimes go, robbing a casino is a favourite and always makes for good entertainment. This is perhaps because casinos, like banks, are well known to be knee deep in cash. The establishments are therefore regarded as goldmines, assuming the thieves have the smarts or muscle to pull off such a difficult caper.
In movies the robberies generally involve overly elaborate schemes, mostly as a mechanism to add excitement to the film. In real life, the biggest casino robberies may not be at all what you expect!
1.Calm And Collected Is Key
One of the most well-known casino robberies in history did not involve guns, explosions, police sirens, or even creepy identity-concealing masks. It involved a simple, calculated move by a man who stayed calm, especially when he needed to.
The story goes that a man named Bill Brennan got away with $500,000, and still remains at large to this day. He pulled the heist off in 1992, and where he went is anyone’s guess. He is, for all intents and purposes, probably gone for good. $500,000 can get you pretty far, after all.
So how did he do it? Bill Brennan simply put half a million dollars into a duffel bag and walked out the front door. He was an employee at the casino, and had been for many years. The sight of him walking in or out of the casino was not an unusual one, and so familiar had he become with security that they didn’t even suspect the bag was full of money. One thing is for sure; it took nerves of steel.
The second story involves a brazen couple, Heather Tallchief and Roberto Solis. Heather was the driver of an armoured truck, one responsible for moving casino money from point A to point B. According to Heather it was Roberto who convinced her to simply drive away with $2.5 million, never stopping at point B.
The couple got away clean, and would likely have stayed gone, were it not for an unusual turn of events. Twelve years later Heather turned herself in. The reasons are a little heart-breaking. She said that Roberto up and left her, taking the money with him, after she got pregnant. Some say this is just a sob story, and the couple likely spent all the money. Either way, Heather got five years, and Roberto has not been found.
3.Research Is Everything
A gentleman on a motorcycle took a more direct approach in 2010. He walked into a casino with a pistol, wearing a tinted motorbike helmet, and robbed the cashiers of $1.5 million. The unnamed man must have felt extremely liberated, speeding away from a crime scene with a duffel bag, the roar of his bike’s engine declaring victory in his ears. But, it was a short-lived victory. The motorbike man stole extremely high value poker chips, many worth $25,000. These are not easy chips to get rid of, especially since the casino in question put out a warning about the robbery.
He tried to sell the chips online, and was caught shortly. After sharing photos of the stolen chips, looking for a buyer, he was reported. A little bit of research, it seems, would have done the bike-riding bandit a great deal of good.
4.Keeping It In The Family
The next heist is famous for the two reasons. The first is that most of a family in Texas was involved; the second is the amazing levels of risk they were willing to take. A man named Royal Mayne Hopper got a job doing casino security work. He promptly used the position to learn the security protocols of the casino, then enlisted his sons Bobby and Jeff to stage not one, but two robberies.
The second robbery involved wigs, fake beards, smoke bombs, and the family taking $1,000,000 in cash and chips from under a security guards’ nose. Smoke bombs, it seems, were not something casino security counted on.
The man and his two sons got away, but were ultimately caught.
5.The Stuff Of Movies
The last heist on the list is certainly not the least startling. The story is that a bunch of innovative folks used a laser to calculate the speed at which the roulette wheel was spinning. Using this information, the trio was able to estimate the pockets on which the ball was most likely to land.
With this technique they managed to net $1.2 million in a few days.
The best part of the story is that apparently the three were caught, but later released with no charges. Apparently there is no law against using a laser to steal money from a casino! Who would have guessed?