Casinos have long been a haven for gamblers around the world. Movies like Ocean’s Eleven and 21 often depict gun-toting robbers, but there have actually been several real life casino heists that took place at actual casinos.
One of the most renowned heists involved longtime casino employee Bill Brennan. When he left the Stardust in September 1992, he was carrying a bag full of money – chips and cash included.
1. The Mandalay Bay Heist
When we think of heists, we often conjure up elaborate plans. But sometimes, even simple ideas can prove successful.
In 1992, Bill Brennan – a longtime casino employee and cashier at Stardust Resort and Casino in Las Vegas – pulled off one of history’s biggest heists.
On his day off, he emerged from the venue with $500,000 worth of chips and cash. He simply threw both bags over his shoulder and vanished without a trace.
The heist demonstrated the vulnerability of even high-security casinos to theft. For the first time ever in casino security history, someone managed to rob a casino without drawing attention or setting off alarms.
2. The Stardust Heist
The Stardust was one of the most recognizable casinos on Las Vegas Boulevard. It had a big, bright interior with topless showgirls and neon signage to match.
This was a haven for high-stakes gamblers and wiseguys alike, although it also became the target of numerous robberies.
Though casino security today is much better than it was in 1992, some employees still feel the urge to leave their jobs and steal from the establishment they so dearly love.
Heather Tallchief was one such employee. As a driver for Loomis Armor, she transported money to casinos. On her last day, she simply upped and left with $3 million worth of cash in her truck.
3. The Bellagio Heist
In December 2010, The Bellagio Heist occurred and is remembered as one of Las Vegas’ most daring robberies. The criminal managed to pilfer over $1.5 million worth of casino chips from their poker room.
The heist was made even more captivating because it occurred at a time when police were reviewing surveillance footage at the Bellagio. This gave them unique access to witness the entire event in real-time, something they hadn’t experienced before.
Anthony Carleo, the man responsible for this heist, had been on a gambling and drug binge when he took the chips from the casino. Court documents reveal that he stayed at the Bellagio as an comped high roller and was known to gamble like royalty.
4. The Treasure Island Heist
The Treasure Island Heist is one of the most notorious casino robberies in history. In July 2000, a gunman pistol-whipped a security guard and made off with large amounts of money from the casino.
On October 9th of that same year, Reginald Johnson made another attempt at robbing the casino. This time he approached the entrance and shot at a guard who was later arrested.
Johnson returned to the casino and attempted a second robbery, this time getting caught on video tape while shooting at a security guard and taking money from inside the cashier cage.
5. The Circus Circus Heist
On October 1, 1993, Heather Tallchief was employed by Loomis Armored Car Company – a cash management firm that services ATMs at casinos. Her job required her to drive their armored van around to various establishments and replenish their ATMs with money.
She traveled to Circus Circus Hotel and Casino in the morning, picking up her coworkers Scott Stewart and Steve Marshall. Scott Stewart and Steve Marshall rode along for the ride, and when she dropped them off at the casino to collect their cash prizes, it was all business as usual for her.
After she stole $3.1 million in cash from an armored truck, she and her ex-boyfriend Roberto Solis fled across America – initially fleeing to Denver but ultimately moving on to Florida, the Caribbean, and Amsterdam.