In the last fifteen years many films have rolled on the big screen that had the subject of casino robberies. Many of these films have in composition famous Hollywood actors, being directed by well-known directors. What was less known is that the topics of that inspired directors and writers have actually happened in reality, and some of these robberies and robbers remained in forensic history.
1. The MIT blackjack whizz-kids Casino: various worldwide
In the 90s, a team of students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, have made millions of dollars playing blackjack in Las Vegas casinos. After the courses, some students were meeting to plot a strategy to win this game, by counting cards. They formed a very capable team of six students who used signs of their own language, expressions and gestures only they knew.
Thus, two of the students were playing at the blackjack tables the minimum amount and number of cards which are on the table. At one point, making a sign with his hand, stretch and cool at the table sat another student who started playing the big money. In Las Vegas for a particular card they had a word; for certain words had name cards. For example, they use the word “sweet” in a phrase or sentence, or for a card with number 10 they used the word “magazine”.
Another two students were sitting a few tables away to notify them if something unpredictable happens. For example, if one of them put their hand through his hair was a clear signal for rapid withdrawal. Signs that the casino guard caught the trick and is on the verge of taking questions.
From 1979 ‘till 1993 they have won millions of dollars and when everything stopped, one of them published in 2003 a book based on their experience named “Bringing Down the House”.
2. All-seeing eye - Casino: Crown, Perth
For a long time now, technology has become the best friend of thieves and robbers not only in the movies. It happened to the Crown Casino, Perth, Australia in 2013, when more than $33 million Australian Dollars were robbed with the help of a surveillance camera. The crime system was simple and involved two persons, plus the camera. One of the partners was hacking the casino surveillance system and manipulated the camera to sneak peak into the dealer’s cards. Via an earpiece he transmitted all the necessary information to an inside man who was playing at the table. Although the inside man was captured by the security team of the casino, the outside hacker is still free and can repeat this procedure all over again.
3. Riches of the sole - Casino: multiple across California
In the 1970s under the sunny sun of the California, some students thought they could make big money by tricking the California Casino. With a pure insolence, these students from the University of California crafted two miniature computers. These AI gadgets were able to read a spinning roulette wheel, and were used like a talking system (one emitting, another receiving). The only problem was that the computers short-circuited and the guys ended electrocuted and with empty pockets.
4. Bonnie and Clyde - Casino: Circus
The crime/love story of Bonnie and Clyde inspired many robbers to create new brilliant methods of robbing money from casinos. It happened in 1993, at the Circus Casino, when a couple of lovers have imitated America’s most wanted criminals in the 1930’s. Roberto Solis and Heather Tallchief robbed the casino of $2.5 million and ran into a secured truck. The only problem was that they had too much cash, so Solis ran alone with the money, leaving only $1000 for his ex-sweetheart, Tallchief.
5. Brute force - Casino: Soboba Casino, Las Vegas
Sometimes there’s no need for intelligence, brute force is enough to make some criminal money. It is the case of Soboba Casino, located in Las Vegas, where, in 2005, two handy robbers, Roland Luda Ramos and Eric Alan Aguilera have tapped with guns in their hand, like real thieves from the Wild West and robbed the Casino of 1.5 million dollars. The only big problem was that sheriffs and deputies were at the corner and caught them really quickly.
6. Laser swag - Casino: Ritz, London
It is known that criminal minds always find the best solution when it comes to stealing, cheating and robbing. In the UK’s capital, London, in 2004, three brilliant robbers cheated the Ritz Casino of £1.3 million using a simple, but really clever idea: they used the lasers mounted in mobile phones, which had the ability to read the roulette and its winning moves. They have cashed in the money, but were caught and brought to justice. The judge however was convinced that these three guys committed no crime and set them free.
7. Severance pay - Casino: the Stardust, Las Vegas
Sometimes all you have to do to rob a casino is by working in it. For example, at the Stardust Casino, Las Vegas, in 1992, a sportsbook cashier named Bill Brennan took off with $500,000 and disappeared into another state or country. It's still not clear what happened to him, since the person was not identified anywhere in the world. It is assumed to have been killed by an accomplice of his, but, the truth is no one knows precisely.
8. Casino Royale - Casino: multiple across London
This is not a James Bond movie, but the facts are somehow related to his action films. It happened in 2000, in London, when more than £200,000 were robbed from 6 casinos from the UK’s capital. This action was performed by three robbers endowed with high intelligence spy technology, who used hidden cameras in their sleeves to film dealer’s cards. Using an earpiece, an inside man made the winning moves. Although they “won” that amount, they were caught by the English police and sentenced to prison.
9. Third time’s the charm? - Casino: Bellagio, Las Vegas
The following robbery happened at the Bellagio Casino, Las Vegas, in 1998, when three Latino machos (Oscar Sanchez, Jose Vigoa, and Luis Suarez) imagined a system capable of fleecing the casino. They won almost $160,000, but with Jose Vigoa face caught on a casino camera, the whole gang was easily identified. Oscar Sanchez betrayed his fellows for a lighter sentence, and Jose Vigoa and Luis Suarez were imprisoned for life.
10. Plundering Treasure Island - Casino: Treasure Island, Las Vegas
Everyone dreams of a Treasure Island, but Reginald Johnson really found one in the Treasure Island Casino, Las Vegas, in 2000. As he said that he should not leave empty handed, he robbed the Casino of $30,000 in his third attempt. A few months later, in January 2001, he was caught by the Police, when returned at the crime scene and sentenced to 130 years in prison.
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