Few events boast as much glamour and drama as casino heists. From notorious thieves like Heather Tallchief to tech experts who successfully bypass security systems worth millions, casino thefts have sent shockwaves through the gambling world.
From the MIT Blackjack Team’s masterful strategy to Ronaldo Luda Ramos’ mastermind plan at Soboba, these legendary casino heists will leave you gasping.
1. The Biker Bandit
The gambling industry is often associated with glamour, but over time it has also seen numerous shocking scandals that reverberated throughout. From bank heists to edge-sorting schemes, these incidents caused shockwaves throughout the industry and caused casinos to reconsider their security measures.
Anthony Carleo rode his motorcycle up to the Suncoast Casino poker cage and pulled out a weapon, quickly collecting $1.5 million worth of chips before speeding away on his motorcycle.
He was eventually caught at the Bellagio and sentenced to five years of incarceration, likely serving most of that time behind bars. Additionally, he was found guilty of skimming slot machine jackpots illegally despite being permanently barred from casinos – although he still boasted about it during rounds of shots in Colorado with friends from high school! This brazen act sent shockwaves through gaming circles worldwide as security protocols were reviewed across casinos.
2. Heather Tallchief
Heather Tallchief was 21 when she successfully robbed an armored van filled with millions in Las Vegas casino money on October 1, 1993. Tallchief worked as a driving employee at Loomis Armored–the company responsible for transporting it–while Roberto Solis–a convicted murderer and prison poet–taught her the details of their plan.
Bonnie and Clyde-style theft by two female accomplices led them to steal a truck with its contents before fleeing across America on private jet. Tallchief managed to avoid capture for 12 years until turning herself in on February 22, 2005.
Netflix’s Heist series delves into three heists from the perspective of those involved and features an in-depth interview with Tallchief as well as archive footage and reenactments from their three crimes, featuring her. The first two episodes can now be accessed online. Prior to becoming involved with criminality, Tallchief worked as a nurse caring for patients living with HIV in San Francisco.
3. Ronaldo Luda Ramos
Casino heists that make headlines around the globe are impressive feats of criminal ingenuity that leave an indelible mark on gambling culture. Yet such acts of theft still carry legal ramifications with serious repercussions for all involved parties.
Ronaldo Luda Ramos used his position as a surveillance technician to conduct an elaborate casino heist, according to investigators. By employing technical knowledge and posing as an employee, Ramos gained entry to the vault where he used hog ties on employees before taking bundles of cash out in a duffel bag.
Police allege he was caught after one year of planning by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and is facing 12 felonies; his sentencing date will be August 21. Additionally, co-defendant Eric Aguilera who was arrested post heist faces up to life imprisonment charges as well.
4. Anthony Carleo
Casinos tend to be relatively safe from inside jobs as most employees are honest; however, there are those that try their luck at taking more for themselves than is necessary. Heather Tallchief was such an employee when she employed an armoured vehicle from Circus Circus casino to deliver money directly into a bank vault.
Anthony Carleo was another casino employee that went too far. In 2010, his son donned his motorcycle helmet and ran into Bellagio armed with a firearm while wearing it, stealing over $1.5 million worth of chips from there.
After using his stolen funds to check into a hotel and live off their profits, they went out for drinks with comped rooms, meals, and drinks before trying to sell a handful of $25,000 denomination chips known as cranberries on an online gambling forum – they were arrested shortly thereafter and now serving 16 years behind bars. MIT Blackjack Team