John Locher / Assocaited Press
Published Thursday, April 19, 2018 | 9:33 a.m.
Updated Thursday, April 19, 2018 | 4:57 p.m.
In the Texas panhandle, about 700 miles from the scene of a weekend slaying in Las Vegas, the suspect was sleeping in his silver Cadillac with a gun sitting next to him when a sheriff’s deputy ran the plates on the car.
The officer quickly realized the plates had been reported stolen. And soon, he would also discover that he had found Anthony Wrobel, a 42-year-old disgruntled table games dealer wanted in Las Vegas for the point-blank shooting of two Strip hotel-casino executives as their company picnic was winding down.
“Good old-fashioned police work” and collaboration cracked the case, Metro Police Capt. Robert Plummer said hours after Wrobel was arrested Thursday in Vega, a Texas town with no more than 900 residents.
Plummer, the head of Metro’s homicide unit, also shed a light on some of Wrobel’s alleged planning and a possible motive into why the Venetian Las Vegas executives, Mia Banks, 54, and Hector Rodriguez, were targeted Sunday as they sat at a gazebo area of Sunset Park.
Banks died Sunday at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, where Rodriguez also was rushed in critical condition.
“All of us continue to mourn the loss of Mia Banks, our hearts are with Mia’s family. We hope this news provides some solace for everyone impacted by this tragic event,” wrote Alyssa Anderson, spokeswoman with Las Vegas Sands Corp., parent company of the Venetian.
As to Rodriguez’s medical condition, Anderson said, he “continues to improve and we look forward to the day that he is released from the hospital.”
While searching Wrobel’s home, investigators found a note in which the suspect “talked about displeasure with the Venetian and management at the corporation,” Plummer said.
Three days before the shooting, Wrobel planted the Cadillac at a parking lot of McCarran International Airport, which is near the crime scene, Plummer said. After opening fire on the executives at point-blank range, Plummer said, Wrobel drove to the airport, parked his Dodge Charger and fled in the 1998 Cadillac.
“As we’ve seen too often in this country, this awful crime occurred because a disgruntled employee decided to take out his anger by using violence,” Plummer said.
Officers arrived at the airport about five minutes later, but Wrobel was gone, and he was heading to Cedar City, Utah, where he stole the license plates off a vehicle, Plummer said. It was those plates that caught the attention of the Oldham County sheriff’s deputy about 3 a.m. as he patrolled a rest area.
He called backup, and when the deputies approached a sleeping Wrobel, he grabbed his gun but quickly dropped it, Plummer said. Wrobel was taken into custody without further incident. Two high-capacity magazines also were found.
Metro detectives on Thursday were en route to Texas to interview Wrobel, who is expected to be extradited to Las Vegas, Plummer said. The FBI on Tuesday had obtained a federal search warrant, writing it had reason to believe Wrobel fled Las Vegas. That information was pushed to jurisdictions across the country.
Wrobel’s possible whereabouts while he was on the run or where he may have been heading had not been determined, Plummer said, but investigators had been confident he hadn’t boarded a flight on Sunday.
“This entire case, from beginning to end, has been a collaborative effort,” Plummer said, citing Metro, the FBI, civilian staff at the Clark County Department of Aviation and the Oldham County Sheriff’s Office in Texas.
“Let this case serve as a reminder to anyone who thinks they can commit a crime, go on the run and get away with it,” he continued. “The long arm of the law has a great reach and we will find you.”