Las Vegas Sun

February 21, 2024

Armored car hit at MGM

The robbery of a Brinks armored car Sunday morning at the MGM Grand hotel-casino mirrors a number of such local thefts in recent years, including the Jan. 10, 1994, heist of a Loomis armored car at the same Strip resort.

Metro Police were investigating today the Sunday robbery that took place on the south side of the property at 11:22 a.m. Three men were involved in the theft, police said.

The robbery occurred near a service door just west of the valet entrance off Tropicana Avenue. Police did not disclose the amount of money that was taken.

The thieves fled the scene in a newer model white full-size Chevrolet pick-up. They also took one of the Brinks guard's pistols, police said.

In the 1994 armored car theft at the MGM, the thieves made off with $2.9 million. That robbery also was committed during daylight hours and a guard's gun also was taken.

That robbery occurred just three months after a short-time Loomis employee, Heather Tallchief, allegedly helped an accomplice steal $3.1 million from an armored van and flee with him on a chartered jet.

In perhaps the most bizarre armored car robbery in local history, Anthony Frisco, who helped steal $1.8 million from a Brinks vehicle, pleaded guilty to the crime in January 1996.

The 1983 Valley High School graduate and native Las Vegan was carrying $1.5 million in cash in a suitcase when he was arrested in Costa Rica.

The heist occurred Aug. 9, 1994, when Frisco, then-29, and Brinks employee Misty Smith, then-23, drove the truck away from Belz Factory Outlet Mall on Las Vegas Boulevard South.

They fled to Mexico, where Smith was later found dead in a Mexican hotel room, abandoned and destitute. Authorities discovered her body while Frisco was in jail. Officials reported the cause of death was severe dehydration.

That incident was a copycat crime to the Tallchief theft -- the Oct. 1, 1993, event that began a rash of local armored car robberies.

Tallchief allegedly drove away from Circus Circus with $3.1 million while co-workers were inside filling ATM machines. She and her boyfriend, Roberto Ignacio Zalaya-Solis, fled, disguised as senior citizens. Authorities believe they fled to the Caribbean or Central America.

Investigation by Metro and the FBI revealed that the robbery had been elaborately planned and executed.

On Feb. 21, 1995, a Bantek Armored Car Service van was reported to have been robbed outside the Tropicana hotel-casino.

However, it also turned out to be an inside job. Armored car driver Paula Clor and Donald Frommer were later convicted of the crime where $1.4 million was taken.

On Aug. 25, 1994, an armored car robbery at the Virgin River casino in Mesquite netted the crooks about $200,000.