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Heists and Shenanigans

You just can’t trust anyone these days. At least not someone who just stole half a million in cash.

Heists and Shenanigans

Well, I can’t speak for myself, but a judge in Colorado certainly didn’t trust a woman accused of pulling off the state’s largest-ever casino heist. Being sensitive to the not-guilty-until-proven-innocent thing, and because I, myself, am not a fan of litigation, I won’t repeat the woman’s name. Let’s call her Mable Barker. (Ma Barker for short.)

Surveillance video shows Barker, a cage employee at a Colorado casino, loading $50,000 bricks of money into a box, and making multiple trips from the casino’s cash room to load the money into a gold-colored minivan. She then drove to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver, where she was met by an unidentified man to whom she handed the money.

Remarkably, she was arrested and charged with grand theft.

Barker’s attorney asked that she be released on her own recognizance pending trial. The judge was flabbergasted, answering, according to 9News Denver, “A personal recognizance bond for a case where half a million dollars walked out of a casino? I just don’t trust that Ms. (Barker) is going to come back to court.”

Her attorney tried again after the judge ordered her held on a $10,000 cash bond, saying she couldn’t afford it. His reasoning? “If she had the money, she would’ve posted it,” the attorney said.

I may be misreading this, but was he saying that if she had pulled off the heist, she would have just peeled the 10 grand from one of those bricks she grabbed?

In any event, the handoff of the loot is what is really strange in this case. According to the news report, “She told them a man called, claimed to be a casino boss and instructed her to take the money or the casino ‘would be in breach of contract,’ according to the affidavit. She said she met a man she believed to be an attorney in a dark hospital parking lot later that morning and handed over the money.”

Another report said it was a text she received from this person, at 12:45 a.m., and she believed it was a supervisor telling her to grab the money and deliver it.

Right. Any reasonable person would trust a message from an anonymous caller telling him or her to bag $500,000 in cash, drive it down the road, and give it to a guy in a dark hospital parking lot in the middle of the night.

Personally, I do all my banking in dark parking lots. If a big cash amount is involved, I prefer to deposit in a dark alley, in a dumpster.

Either this was an elaborate and ingenious scheme concocted with an accomplice that led to a huge payoff, or Mable Barker is someone who’d buy an ice cream truck franchise on the North Pole if the pitch was good enough.

It may be the latter, since she actually contacted the casino while she was on her way back from the dark parking lot. According to 9News, she “contacted the casino to tell them that she was on her way back, adding she believed she may have done something wrong and was fearful of arrest.”

Well, she got that part right, anyway.

Speaking of dumb casino thieves, a man is facing grand larceny charges after he allegedly tried to steal thousands of dollars from the Rivers Casino in Portsmouth, Virginia. According to the police report, casino surveillance captured… let’s call him Moe… swiping $7,000 worth of poker chips from a table.

Moe tried to cash the chips out, and for a minute, it looked like he was actually going to pull it off. The cashier began to retrieve his cash. But he just couldn’t wait. He grabbed $2,600 in cash and ran for the exit. A Portsmouth Police officer chased him from behind inside the building, and another cop waited for him outside the door. Easy collar, right?

Not quite. According to news reports, once the three were outside the door, they collided, with all three of them landing on the ground.

(The reports didn’t say whether or not their heads conked together with a coconut sound.)

The shtick continued after that, with the perpetrator getting away, but not to a waiting getaway car. He was spotted hiding in the bushes, and after another Stooges-style chase, they caught him.

(I think Moe griped, “I’m gonna get myself a cheap lawyer!”)

Seriously, I’m pretty sure the Three Stooges went through this same shtick in a 1940s short. Only in that case, the arrest ended after the thief got his arm caught in one of the cop’s jacket sleeves.



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.