Casino Robbed Of $1 Million in Daring Heist
LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Gamblers at a crowded casino scattered Monday as robbers set off smoke bombs, grabbed a money bag from an armored car guard and escaped with an estimated $1 million in cash and checks.
Two armed men ignited two smoke bombs just before 8 a.m. and stole a satchel of cash and checks as the guard carried it from the casino cage at the Stardust Hotel.
″People were running through the casino yelling, ’They’ve got guns. They’ve got bombs,‴ said Pat Shumaker of Chattanooga, Tenn. ″People were running through the kitchen, running for the exits, hiding behind tables.″
The two men grabbed the satchel, knocked the guard to the floor, then grabbed his gun and fled to a waiting station wagon driven by a third suspect, said police Sgt. Mike Thompson.
The three later abandoned the station wagon and fled in a different car, Thompson said. They had not been caught by midday.
Stardust spokeswoman Kathy Espin estimated the loss at approximately $1 million.
Ms. Espin said the money technically belonged to Loomis Armored Inc., the armored car company, since the guard had signed for the money.
No injuries were reported, although several customers complained of inhaling the smoke that drifted through the sprawling casino.
Thompson said the chemical mixture used to create the smoke was carried in two large soft drink containers. The smoke bombs ignited carpeting in front of the casino cage, but the fires were quickly extinguished.
Ms. Shumaker, who was heading for a hotel restaurant when the incident occurred, said bystanders feared for their lives.
″Anybody crazy enough to rob a casino is crazy enough to shoot you,″ she said.