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Thief Steals $1.5 Million in Chips from Bellagio

Dec 15, 2010
Author: Susan Arnold
Thief Steals $1.5 Million in Chips from Bellagio

An armed man robbed the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas early Tuesday morning, stealing about $1.5 million in chips from the casino floor. Police believe this may be the second robbery by the thief in the last week.

The suspect will be particularly difficult to identify due to the fact that he wore a full motorcycle helmet, obscuring his face entirely. While surveillance footage is available, it is hard to make out the suspect clearly; so far, police have only identified him as a white male, around 5’10” to 6’0” (about 1.8 meters) tall, weighing approximately 220 pounds (100 kilograms).

The robbery occurred very early Tuesday morning. The thief parked his motorcycle outside the casino around 4 am, and then proceeded directly to a craps table where several players were playing at the early hour. The thief confronted the players with a handgun, and began grabbing chips from the table. The chips taken ranged in value from $100 to $25,000. The entire robbery took around three minutes, after which the man fled on his motorcycle.

Police believe this is the same suspect responsible for another robbery just days ago. In that case, a poker cage at the Suncoast Casino was robbed of $20,000 in cash last Thursday.

The technical aspects of the robbery were efficient, but whether the suspect ultimately is caught or not, he may not find his theft to prove very lucrative. High value chips are often embedded with RFID chips, and may be encoded so that the casino can tell exactly which chips were stolen. In fact, it’s possible that the casino may even change their chips to make the stolen chips easy to identify if they are brought in for play.

While cases of robbery in Las Vegas have risen slightly in recent years, such incidents are still quite rare. Las Vegas had six casino robberies in 2008, and nine in 2009. With a couple weeks to go in 2010, there have been ten robberies thus far.

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