Las Vegas: the lights, the glitz, the glamour, the crime… In the city that never sleeps, there are always people looking to make a fast buck. Grinding it out at the poker table or getting lucky playing blackjack are options, but not everyone has the patience to play by the rules.
This week, we recall five Las Vegas heists where crime was the key to a stolen fortune. Get ready for the audacious, the outrageous, and the ridiculous. Hands up! Give me the money…
Treasure Island – Long John Johnson
Most criminals are dumber than a box of frogs. Reginald Johnson is a prime example. The turn of the millennium was a bad year for the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas.
The casino had been subjected to several robberies in 2000. In October, a gun-toting Reginald Johnson made off with $30,000. It was his third attempt that year. He had previously shot and injured a security guard.
Johnson stupidly returned to the casino and was arrested. He was sentenced to 130 years in prison.
Stardust Memories of $500,000
Fed up with that job? Not interested in working in the casino sports book any longer? No problem: just take the money and disappear.
That’s exactly what William John Brennan did on September 1992. The 34-year-old casino cashier calmly pocketed $500,000 and has never been seen again. The Stardust is now just dust but the memories linger. Who knows where Mr. Brennan is today? He remains a wanted man.
The Bellagio Cage Fighters
If you’ve ever wondered why there are bars around cashier cages, ask Oscar Cisneros, Jose Vigoa, and Luis Suarez. The three men robbed the Bellagio Casino in 2000.
Dressed in body armour, two men jumped over the cashier cage counter whilst the third stood lookout. They got away with $160,000.
Eventually, the police caught up with them. Cisneros committed suicide before his trial. Vignos had previous form, including murder and casino robbery, and was sentenced to no-parole life and an additional 760 years in prison. Suarez was sentenced to 15 years.
The Circus Circus Twist in the Tale
A successful heist; an armoured truck vanishes with nearly $3 million in October 1993 and no one is ever caught. Now things get weird.
In September 2005, Heather Tallchief surrenders to the Las Vegas police and confesses her crime from 12 years earlier. She says she could no longer live with the guilt.
After the crime, she had fled to the Netherlands with her boyfriend and accomplice Roberto Solis. The money was never found. Tallchief claims her partner kept all the money. Tallchief was sentenced to five years and three months.
The Bellagio Bandit on a Bike
Stupid is as stupid does… on December 14, 2010, Anthony Carleo rode his motorbike up to the entrance of the Bellagio Casino, walked to the craps table, and demanded chips. He got away with $1.5 million.
After his successful heist, stupid took over. He went online and tried to sell his high value $25,000 chips. He referred to himself as the ‘biker bandit’ and – unsurprisingly – got a knock at the door from the police.
Despite being the sun of a Las Vegas court judge, Carleo was sentence to between nine and 27 years in prison.