Bandits seize $200,000 from Puerto Rico casino

AP News
Posted: Mar 09, 2011 1:12 PM
Bandits seize $200,000 from Puerto Rico casino

Masked gunmen raided a waterfront resort casino early Wednesday, forced gamblers to the floor and fled with more than $200,000, leaving a trail of bills fluttering along the beach, police said.

The attack was similar to a robbery at another casino last year, also in the northern coastal town of Rio Grande, and police said they are investigating possible links.

Three men wearing ski masks ran from the beach into the casino at the Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa about 1:45 a.m. (2:45 a.m. EST; 0745 GMT), shortly before it closed, Police officer Angel Lopez said.

Holding handguns, they ordered a handful of tourists and employees to the ground and demanded to speak to the person with keys to the vault, Lopez said.

He said they stole about $214,000 and fled, though police later recovered about $4,000 scattered along the white-sand beach in front of the hotel. Police initially had said that about $300,000 was taken.

Lopez said no one has been arrested, but the robbery resembled the Aug. 23 seizure of about $250,000 at the nearby Gran Melia Golf Resort.

The main suspect in that heist was fatally shot in front of his house in Rio Grande in February, he said.

Veronica Taveira, a spokeswoman for the Rio Mar Beach Resort, said the hotel is cooperating with authorities.