Most Famous Casino Heists

  • Even the biggest casinos, like The Bellagio or the Circus Circus, have been robbed
  • Most of these heists were committed by former employees
  • Some of the robbers like Bill Brennan and Roberto Solis are still haven’t been caught
most famous casino heists

Casino robberies are regular themes of action films but they can really happen in real life. In spite of the top security, there have been brave (or stupid) people in the last few decades who tried to rob the most luxury casinos. Some of them have been quite sophisticated while others only relied on pure violence. Find below the most famous casino heists in history. 

While robbing a bank or a cashier usually involves lots of guns and several armed robbers, a casino heist can be totally different. It usually involves only one or two persons and a well-prepared plan. Inside information about the place is also very important like the location of the cameras, the number of security guards, and the daily routine. Though the sophisticated heist of a casino from Ocean 11 might be a bit of exaggeration from the filmmakers. There have been similar tricks used in real-life robberies with one big difference though. In most cases, the robbers have been caught sooner or later by the police. 

Former cashier’s walkout belongs to the most famous casino heists

One of the strangest and still most famous casino heists in history have been committed by a cashier, Bill Brennan at the Stardust Casino in Las Vegas, in 1992. What Brennan did is simply stunning. He just walked away with a bag of $500,000, half in cash, half in chips. As an employee of the casino for more than a decade, he knew where the cameras were located and where he could avoid them. No one had ever thought of him as a robber. According to the rumors, a refused promotion made him so angry that he made this step. What makes his story even more special is that he hasn’t been caught ever since. Even though he was on the FBI’s Most Wanted list until 2006 when Stardust closed down. 

The Biker Bandit

Another lonely robber was Anthony Michael Carleo or as he’s more known, “The Biker Bandit”. First, Carleo robbed the Suncoast Hotel and Casino and took $20,000 away. Then he managed to do the same at one of the most famous casinos in Las Vegas, The Bellagio. His methods were quite simple. He just parked his motor in front of the casinos, walked directly towards the high-stake craps table, and grab the chips there. Carleo took away almost $1,5 million from The Bellagio and later checked in to the hotel. 

most famous casino heists
Image source: consigliere ivan from Bontang, Indonesia, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As he was wearing a helmet during the heist, no one recognized him. So Carleo was living a high life there, spending his stolen chips. Until he was caught by an undercover police officer to whom he tried to sell the chips through an online poker forum. The Biker Bandit was sentenced to 16 years in 2010. If you’d like to earn some money, you can also do it in a more peaceful way at one of the online casinos in the US

The most romantic heist 

Now let’s see a pair who also managed to escape until one of them give up herself. Heather Tallchief and her boyfriend, Roberto Solis robbed the Circus Circus Casino in Las Vegas back in 1993. Tallchief was working as an armed truck driver who was carrying the money for the ATM machines at the casinos. While one day, she decided not to stop and just drove away with $2,5 million. The 21-year-old dated an ex-convict, Roberto Solis who was released from prison due to his great poetry skills. It looks like Solis didn’t change much in prison though as he helped Heather in the plan. The pair escaped together, but Tallchief gave herself up after 12 years. She claimed that Solis left her with only $1000, and fled alone. Tallchief was sentenced to prison but was released after five years while Solis (and the money) still hasn’t been found. 

Inside-job at Soboba is another famous casino heist

Another former employee, Ronaldo Luda Ramos also used his previous knowledge in order to rob his workplace, the Soboba Casino in California in 2007. Ramos installed the security cameras at the casino so he knew how to switch them off. He also used a gun against his co-workers to get the money which was a staggering amount of $1.58 million. He said after that it was a BB gun and it couldn’t hurt them. Still, if you don’t want to have such an experience just stay at home and play on one of the online gambling sites in the US.  Back to Ramos, he and his partner, another former employee, Eric Aguilera were caught only two days after their heist at the Los Angeles International Airport. Ramos was sentenced to 18 years in jail even though he didn’t remember the whole thing due to being under the influence of cocaine. 

most famous casino heists
You don’t really need this outfit to perform a heist – Image source: Pikawil from Laval, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Family business

Last but not least we also have to mention in the most famous casino robberies a heist committed by a whole family. In 1991, Royal Hopper was working at the Stardust Casino in Las Vegas as a security guard where he had the chance to study all security measures. He used one of his sons, Bobby to fake a robbery while he was working. They took $150,000 but it wasn’t enough for them. Royal returned six months later with both of his sons now and attacked the track that was carrying the cash. They were wearing wigs and beards and used smoke bombs in their escape. But it still wasn’t enough as police caught them three days later along with the missing $1.1 million. Royal was sentenced to 17 years in prison, while one of his sons became a pastor. 

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