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Cops and Robbers

Cops and Robbers

What’s with all the casino robberies in the news? It kind of makes me pine for the days when stealing from a casino meant that mobsters would insert you into a hole out in the desert. Ah, those were the days.

One guy robbed a casino cage wearing a motorcycle helmet. Another guy robbed another casino wearing a mask. (Like, a cowboy-robber mask, not a rubber monster mask. Although that would have been cool.) In Reno, a guy wearing a ski mask robbed a cage of $11,000.

You know, you’d think with all the security personnel and cameras deployed around your average casino, someone would notice a guy with a ski mask pulled over his face before he made it to the cage and pointed a gun at the cashier. Your typical jeans/sweater ensemble doesn’t normally include a full-face ski mask, does it? I never see people in ski masks ordering drinks from cocktail servers at the slots. Maybe it’s just me.

In Rapid City, South Dakota, newspaper reports say armed robbers “ran amok,” hitting several casinos, apparently using knives as their weapon of choice.

I hate people who run amok. There’s just no place for running amok in polite society. But another thing comes to mind when looking at all these news stories:

Are these people really this stupid? The No. 1, top, hall-of-fame idiot is the guy in the motorcycle gear. He robbed a casino pit at the Bellagio, and made off with $1.5 million… in casino chips. What does he do now, go back to the cage to cash them?

“I’d like my $1.5 million in $100 bills, please.”

“Sir, I can’t hear you. Can you take off the motorcycle helmet?”

OK, I suppose he’s thinking he’ll go back to the Bellagio over time and cash the chips in portions, but don’t you think there are radio-frequency ID microchips in those gaming chips? Some of his bounty was in $25,000 chips. I’m guessing he’ll be in jail shortly after the first time he tries to cash one of those in, wearing his jeans and biker jacket.

The South Dakota robberies were even weirder. The first one was a guy with a knife who took a grand total of $1,000 in cash. It came a month after two guys in masks robbed another casino, getting “more than $1,000,” according to news reports.

A thousand dollars? These guys are risking their lives and long prison terms for $1,000, which they’re splitting between them? Whatever happened to ambition in this country?

Heck, I’ve been robbed of $1,000 in a casino before. The only difference was the guy wasn’t wearing a mask. He was dressed as a blackjack dealer. (Ba-BOOM! What a crowd!)

Anyway, the night after the guy in the mask robbed his $1,000, a guy in a black Ninja mask robbed another Rapid City casino, with a curved pirate sword. (I think this is when they were officially considered “running amok.”) OK, the guy obviously has a certain theatrical flair. Probably got away with millions, right?

According to the newspaper, Ninja Pirate got away with “more than $1,000.”

“Aaar, that’s two thousand I have! I can buy that big-screen TV now! Aaar!”

That’s my pirate voice. It doesn’t translate well in print, but if you could hear me, you’d have such a laugh.

In the end, all three of these knuckleheads got caught, and are now facing, like, 10 years in prison. Two of them are being held on $500,000 bond apiece, and the third is being held on $200,000 bond. Well, at least they have $2,000 of it. Maybe they should have thought about trying to nab a bit more. At least they could have covered their bail.

By the way, motorcycle guy apparently has struck before. Four days before the Bellagio heist, a guy in motorcycle gear wearing a helmet walked into the Suncoast and went to a cage they were using for a poker tournament, and got away with $20,000 in cash. So apparently, he does know how to ask for cash. I’m still trying to figure out why he took the other casino for what amounts to probably about $35 worth of plastic.

I’ll bet casino surveillance teams will now be on the alert, and that security guards have now been instructed to pay close attention to anyone walking in the doors of a casino wearing full motorcycle gear with his helmet in place.

I guess the guy will have to switch to a Ninja mask and pirate sword. At least he’ll get a thousand bucks out of the deal.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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