Police seek 2 in Las Vegas armored car heist

AP News
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Posted: Dec 14, 2009 4:57 PM

Armored car robbers, including one toting a shotgun, made off Monday with a $1 million money bag in what police said appeared to be a well-planned daylight heist in the parking lot of a Las Vegas casino.

It's not clear, however, if the bandits realized the bag contained just $36,000 in cash, with checks and other receipts accounting for the rest of its contents.

Investigators were trying to determine if a vehicle fire that drew casino security guards to a parking structure was a diversion related to the robbery outside Palace Station Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas police Lt. Clinton Nichols said.

Nichols also said a fluorescent light bulb was smashed on the ground about 9:05 a.m. _ the same time a man wielding a semiautomatic shotgun confronted a guard toting the money bag.

The guard initially reported hearing gunfire, police said. But Nichols said the sound might have been the fluorescent light exploding.

"We're not sure, but it seems like it was all related," he added.

Neither the guard confronted at gunpoint nor a partner inside the armored vehicle was hurt in the robbery, which took just seconds in the parking lot west of the Las Vegas Strip.

Witnesses reported seeing at least two robbers drive away toward the Strip in a gold or beige Dodge Stratus sedan. Nichols said investigators don't know if more people might have been involved.

Station Casinos spokeswoman Lori Nelson said checks and other receipts in the bag totaled more than $1 million but only about $36,000 was cash. Casino officials were cooperating with the police investigation.

Armored car robberies are rare in Las Vegas.

One notable case involved a woman who made off with nearly $3 million from a Las Vegas Strip casino in October 1993 and spent more than a decade hiding under an assumed name in the Netherlands.

She surrendered in 2005, pleaded guilty in federal court and was sentenced to more than five years in federal prison.