December 14, 2010 / 8:22 PM / 8 years ago

Motorcyle bandit robs Las Vegas casino of $1.5 million

A man with a gun is shown at the scene of a robbery at the Las Vegas Suncoast Casino poker room cashier in this photo taken by surveillance camera on December 9, 2010 and released by the Las Vegas Police Department (LVPD) to Reuters December 14, 2010. LVPD believe the same man robbed the Bellagio Casino of $1.5 million in chips early on Tuesday. REUTERS/Las Vegas Police Department/Handout

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - An armed man robbed a craps table at the Bellagio casino of about $1.5 million in chips on Tuesday before escaping on a motorcycle, Las Vegas police said.

A police spokeswoman said the unidentified suspect entered the casino at about 3:50 a.m. local time, wearing a full-face motorcycle helmet, and walked directly to a craps table.

“He pulled a gun, told everyone not to move and took approximately $1.5 million worth of casino chips. The suspect then ran back out to the motorcycle and exited westbound on Flamingo Boulevard,” the spokeswoman said.

Police believe the same suspect may have robbed the Las Vegas Suncoast Casino poker room cashier last week.

In that incident, a suspect wearing a similar helmet got away with about $20,000 in chips.

MGM Resorts, which owns the Bellagio, confirmed the robbery occurred but declined to give further details.

Tuesday’s incident was the 10th Las Vegas casino robbery this year, but it was unusual for its brazenness and the size of the haul.

Strict controls make it difficult to cash-in large amounts of stolen chips. Internal Revenue Service regulations require casinos to track and report cash transactions involving more than $10,000.

“Casino chips are not like cash. At some point they must be redeemed,” MGM spokeswoman Yvette Monet said.

Writing and additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb, editing by Greg McCune

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