Casino heists have long captured our imaginations; now their thrill-filled acts of grand theft in real life have left everyone spellbound by their audacity.
Rolando Ramos of Soboba gambling venue led one of the most notable casino heists. Working together with Eric Aguilera, they successfully stole $1.5 million from Soboba casino.
Casino heists typically involve large sums of money and high stakes. These notorious crimes have captured global attention and been the source of much intrigue and fascination; inspiring numerous movies depicting clever plans and audacious scams that wowed spectators.
Real casino heists tend to be much more complicated than their fictional counterparts and often result in dire consequences, often making headlines throughout history. Some have even made headlines.
Stardust casino heist of over 25 years ago remains one of the most spectacular acts of theft ever to take place in Las Vegas history. A sports book cashier at the time managed to bypass security and steal millions of dollars worth of chips before vanishes without trace; police immediately went looking for him but there was no trace of him at his apartment building or elsewhere; no one has ever managed to identify him since.
Casino high jinks can be thrilling and dangerous affairs, ranging from bold miscreants like Heather Tallchief to sophisticated tech gurus able to bypass security systems worth millions. Casino heists inspired by Hollywood or real life crime can range from small-time revenge schemes all the way up to major bank heists.
Mathematicians orchestrated an extraordinary heist at London’s Ritz casino in 2004 using laser scanners and small computers hidden inside mobile phones to predict where a roulette ball would land on its wheel.
At first glance it may look like an inside job: one of the thieves was an employee from Loomis who worked as a driver for armored trucks transporting cash to fill casino ATMs. On one routine stop he managed to gain entry and make off with around $3 million while other transport guards remained inside – evidence that having someone from inside is essential in pulling off an effective casino heist.
Anthony Michael Carleo
In December 2010, the Bellagio was boldly robbed by an audacious criminal whose daring actions captured global attention. Seemingly straight from Hollywood script, 29-year-old Anthony Michael Carleo arrived on his motorcycle, rode straight towards a high-limit craps table, pulled out a gun, and took $1.5 million worth of chips before fleeing on foot.
Anthony Michael Carleo’s high school photo was unassuming: smiling Anthony Michael Carleo dressed in an orange collarless shirt with dark trim and gold cord around his neck at South High in Pueblo, Colorado. At that time, he served on both student council and business club committees.
Carleo used a motorcycle helmet as a disguise from casino security personnel and carried with him $25,000 chips worth cashing out. Using this tactic, he avoided recognition by security personnel while remaining undetected during his robbery attempt. Carleo pleaded guilty to charges including armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon – which could carry up to 36 years imprisonment; Roberto Solis remains at large after 12 years on the FBI Most Wanted List.
Heather Tallchief and Roberto Solis from Loomis Logistics had plans to make serious cash. Heather was to take control of their armored truck to refill casino ATMs; Roberto would provide additional support as an Loomis driver.
But, two men loading cash containers were unaware that Tallchief was simply waiting for them to finish so she could take control of her vehicle and drive home alone.
Once they were free from the truck 20 minutes later, she was nowhere to be found and its contents remained unknown.
Netflix’s Heist featured Tallchief initially hesitated to speak about her involvement, until Doneen persuaded her to appear. Lisa Lord from General Hospital spinoff Port Charles played Tallchief instead, using interviews conducted with Tallchief herself for narration purposes. Tallchief surrendered in 2005 and now works in healthcare; her relationship with her son remains strong.