Las Vegas Sun

November 26, 2014

Currently: 55° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Mystery gambler ‘Robin Hood 702’ offers $50,000 bounty for Bellagio bandit

Image

Courtesy Robin Hood 702

Robin Hood 702, right, and Lady Greice.

Robber Flees the Bellagio

Metro News Conference

Bellagio/Suncoast robberies

Surveillance video image of an armed man who robbed the Suncoast casino on Dec. 9. Police said he's also suspected in the robbery of the Bellagio on Dec. 14. Launch slideshow »
Click to enlarge photo

The Bellagio hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Crime Stoppers

  • Police are urging anyone with information about the Bellagio robbery to contact the Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555 or www.crimestoppersofnv.com.

Map of Bellagio Resort and Casino

Bellagio Resort and Casino

3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S. , Las Vegas

Who is Robin Hood 702?

  • “Robin Hood 702” is a man in his 40s who says he "lives all over." He considers himself a professional gambler and uses his winnings to help families in debt, generally in the range of $25,000 to $50,000. His Maid Marion, a Brazilian model who calls herself "Lady Greice," usually accompanies him.
  • His story checks out. Salon owner and celebrity hairdresser Michael Boychuck, Barry Dakake, the executive chef at the N9NE Steak House at the Palms, and the Sun’s own larger-than-life Robin Leach have vouched for him.
  • Camera crews first documented his generosity in 2008. He’s been featured on Fox News multiple times, written about in the UK's Daily Mail and was recently profiled in a local magazine.
  • Some notable cases have been assistance for families like the Kegler family from Detroit: He won $35,000 for them after they racked up considerable debt paying for their toddler daughter’s treatment for a brain tumor. He also offered Capt. Richard Phillips, the American freighter captain who was held by pirates off the coast of Somalia in April 2009, and his crew aboard the Maersk Alabama, an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas in order to recognize their heroics.
  • His website, robinhood702.com, makes the following promise: “This is not a joke or a scam. This is one man trying to make a difference in the lives of deserving Americans, hoping others will do the same.”

The armed robbery at the Bellagio last week of $1.5 million in chips reads like a movie script: In a matter of just a few minutes, a helmeted motorcyclist strolls into the swanky Las Vegas Strip resort, brandishes a gun and sweeps up chips in denominations as high as $25,000 from a craps table before riding away on his black sport bike.

Well, Danny Ocean, meet Robin Hood.

The script now has a subplot thanks to a man who says he tries to do good in Las Vegas and likens himself to the folk hero from Nottingham.

The Dec. 14 Bellagio robbery sparked outrage in the high-stakes blackjack player who goes by the moniker “Robin Hood 702,” prompting him to offer a $50,000 reward for the return of the stolen chips and the arrest and conviction of the bandit.

The Sun has agreed to keep Robin Hood 702’s identity anonymous. He says he keeps his name a secret because his motives are charitable; he doesn’t want to appear as though his large-scale gifts, which have been reported in national media outlets since he started helping needy families with his winnings in 2008, are a stunt to gain celebrity status.

Robin Hood says the bandit, who police described as white and about 5-feet-10-inches tall, about 220 pounds and wearing a white motorcycle helmet with multiple stripes and a black jacket, black pants and black gloves, victimized not only the Bellagio, but Las Vegas as a whole.

“I’m just trying to find this guy and stop any copycats,” Robin Hood said during an interview this week with the Sun. “If the Bellagio was hit, the Palazzo could be hit, the Venetian, the MGM Grand … it could be every casino. This guy has to be apprehended quickly.

“These are desperate times. People are going to say, ‘Why don’t I take a shot?’”

The robbery was over in a matter of minutes. No arrests have been made in the case but police say the investigation remains ongoing.

The robber never fired his weapon; security officers, reportedly concerned that he might shoot and worried for the safety of patrons in the area, didn’t attempt to apprehend him. He walked out the door he came in with a backpack full of chips and the ire of at least one Las Vegas gambler.

***

Despite his anonymous nature, Robin Hood is no stranger to the spotlight. He uses his website -- www.robinhood702.com -- as a way for people all over the world to submit their pleas for assistance with crushing debt, often a result of overwhelming medical bills. Whoever Robin Hood chooses to help gets an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas and the opportunity to watch him win their money at the blackjack tables.

Even if he loses, he still pays off at least half their debt.

“I try to help as many people as I can,” Robin Hood said. “I hope to inspire other philanthropists. How great would it be to have a thousand Robin Hoods helping out?”

As recently as last month, he fronted the bill for a Thanksgiving dinner for the needy at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. In the past, he’s helped families coping with cancer and those caring for elderly relatives. Often followed around by crews from Fox News, he appears on camera with a blurred or shadowy face, usually sporting jeans, a ball cap and sunglasses.

Robin Hood, who of course has a band of merry men; his Maid Marion, who calls herself “Lady Greice;” and a sidekick he calls “Little John,” said he came up with idea for the bounty when traveling to Las Vegas a few days after the robbery.

The safety of Strip casinos was on their minds, so they checked into the Golden Nugget in Downtown Las Vegas. Feeling inspired by their surroundings, the group immediately came up with the plan to offer the reward, he said.

“I decided to put up the bounty at that moment,” he said. “Being in Downtown Vegas, where it all started, was somewhat mentally stimulating and exhilarating to me. Vegas means something to me, that’s why I feel I had to act.”

He says he wants to do good for Las Vegas, the city that helps him help others because, if Las Vegas suffers, his brand of charity suffers as well.

***

So, will the $50,000 reward help with the investigation?

Lt. Clint Nichols of Metro's robbery section said it was a “very generous offer” and is open to Robin Hood offering the reward through the Crime Stoppers tipline.

“It’s an established program and if Mr. Robin Hood 702 is interested in offering this reward, he can contact us and Crime Stoppers and make that same offer,” Nichols said. “Anybody putting up a reward certainly doesn’t hurt.”

When asked by the Sun about working with Crime Stoppers, Robin Hood seemed skeptical. He said he would reward any tipsters on his own.

Nichols said that police have received a “variety of tips” and, along with the Bellagio, are keeping an eye out for the stolen chips to find their way back to the casino.

“If that merchandise shows back up, we get notified because you have to do something with it. I don’t imagine anybody’s going to take 50-plus $25,000 chips and throw them in the trash,” Nichols said.

So far, the chips have yet to reappear and officials have noted that the bandit would have a hard time cashing them in. Although the specific security measures in place haven’t been detailed, redeeming a high-value chip requires identification at any casino.

Anthony Curtis, publisher of Las Vegas Advisor, an industry newsletter, said many professional gamblers hang onto high-value chips and stash them away as a means to stay off the books, away from the IRS. In light of the heist, anyone cashing in a high-value marker at the Bellagio would certainly raise eyebrows, he said.

“A lot of the $5,000 chips are all over the place, especially with poker players,” Curtis said. “There would be some motivation for a poker player to hope this would get resolved.”

Robin Hood’s game is blackjack. The Sun asked him if the amped up scrutiny of high-value chips was the motivation behind the bounty.

“Not at all,” Robin Hood said. “I’d rather have cash than chips.”

Robin Hood is afraid, he says, of the “what-ifs.” Of how much worse it could have been.

“Imagine if a family or someone was killed in this robbery,” he said. “The Bellagio itself would have been shut down. It would have been a crime scene.

“This literally would have shut down Vegas.”

If the bandit had decided to use the gun during the holdup and it made the news, he said, it would start a downward spiral: no one would feel secure enough to ever visit Las Vegas. Tourism would go down and casinos would suffer. And it would be that much harder for him to do his job.

“This is something where I think the whole town got off lightly,” he said. “This could have been such a tragic event. Thank God no lives were lost.”

Measuring the effect a high-profile incident – for example, the 2007 shootings that wounded four tourists at the New York-New York hotel-casino -- has on casino visitor numbers is almost impossible, UNLV Center for Gaming Research chief David Schwartz said. He didn’t have specific research on the subject but noted that any observations on the topic would be speculative.

It goes practically without saying that tourism is a driving force behind the local economy.

***

Police have said the robber is likely the same man who robbed the Suncoast casino, 9090 Alta Drive, on Dec. 9. In that robbery, the man robbed a cashier's cage and made off with a less than $20,000. Video surveillance of both incidents was released shortly after the heist.

The robbery at the Suncoast wasn’t publicized until after the Bellagio robbery – the 10th this year in Metro Police’s jurisdiction. Last year, there were nine casino robberies, police said.

Gordon Absher, MGM Resorts International vice president of public affairs, declined to discuss the investigation and wouldn’t comment on whether the $50,000 reward would help or hinder the search for the robber.

He did say he believes the person responsible will be caught.

“We have full faith in the ability of Metro Police to investigate this and apprehend the suspect,” Absher said.

He also wouldn't talk about whether security at the Bellagio or other MGM properties had been enhanced in light of the robbery, but stressed the safety of the resort corridor.

“We constantly learn from new situations,” Absher said. “Las Vegas is a very safe destination. There is more likely to be a higher concentration of security forces -- both personnel and technology -- in this small area than anywhere else short of a military nuclear facility.”

Robin Hood is hoping on that others will hear about his bounty and add their own money into the pot.

“Fifty grand is a lot for someone to have in their pocket. I’m hoping other casinos will kind of add to the bounty and make this an incredible thing,” he said.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 19 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Coolio, that you?

  2. Reminds me of the Harvey's Wagon Wheel Deal...rumors will be flying. Gee, a stature to Bugsy Siegel, Bonnie and Clyde Car, Hitler Parade Car, Mob Museum, etc. ... now we get our back up over a crook? Seems like we glorify crooks...not to mention, Oceans 11-13, Casino...etc. guess I'll have lunch at Romo's...

    You wonder what kind of insurance or reinsurance these casinos have regarding this kind of "loss?"

  3. This guy is just looking for publicity. Most of the chips are worthless, and the Belagio's loss is nowhere near $1.5 million. If he really wanted to do good, he would donate the $50,000 to needy kids.

  4. The loss to the casino is nearly nothing.

    The cashier takes extreme precautions before cashing out chips of large denominations.

    This I know from my previous experiences in cashing out $5,000 chips.

    On a related note, when a patron manages to steal a single playing card the casino has to instantly change
    EVERY deck of cards to a new color - and never again use that color of playing cards.

    This too I have seen take place.

  5. This guy is not seeking publicity. His story is an incentive for others to pay it forward. I commend him. I do it on a small scale. If I hit a small jackpot, I give some of it away. But when I hit the big one in Vegas and/or Atlantic City. It's going to be a good payday for a lot of folks who have hit hard times.

  6. While the good he does for needy families is noble and honorable....I agree with TheKash.

  7. Why hasn't Bellagio changed the set of chips that were stolen? Every casino has 2 sets in case one is compromised by counterfeiting so I think this would be a good move. But it hasn't happened. Why?

  8. a kiss from Lady Greice would be a reward in itself.

  9. Why havent they changed out the chips? Because it isnt worth 1.5 million worth of high value chips to them to do it. That is not a lot of money to a Vegas strip casino, and they arent really worried that the large chips will ever be turned in due to the scrutiny the crook would receive.

  10. This man donates a great deal of money to many causes around this valley.

    If he was looking for nothing but publicity his name would be in bold letters at the top of the article.

    First, it is his money do what he wishes with it. Two, he has done a lot of good.

    I don't see where anyone posting here has a right to tell him what to do with HIS MONEY.

    Many times some posters prove that no good deed goes unpunished in this Valley.

  11. With the current rules on Blackjack in Vegas and the sophistication of the pit, it is highly unlikely that "Robin Hood 702" is a professional Blackjack player. His story would be much more believable if he claimed to be a Poker player. Barring mathematical fluctuations, the only way to consistently beat BJ is by counting cards or cheating and either one will get you barred/arrested quickly these days. Do you really think casinos would let a winning player continue to take money from them?
    LISTEN EVERYONE!!! Don't be fooled by this publicity stunt. This is propaganda.

    SHILL:
    1.) a person who poses as a customer in order to decoy others into participating, as at a gambling house, auction, confidence game, etc.
    2.) a person who publicizes or praises something or someone for reasons of self-interest, personal profit, or friendship or loyalty.

  12. A guy named robin hood denouncing a thief. What a paradoxical world we live in.

  13. Duke aka John Wayne, my thoughts exactly. Somethin funny going on heah. Apparently this guy has helped out a number of needy people in Las Vegas. Highly commendable. Kudos to him for his generosity and willingness to give. Absolutely, blackjack can only be beat using "skill" by counting cards. Otherwise, even if playing perfect basic strategy there is still some house advantage, how much depending on the rules in place. One would think that Mr. Hood would not be much more welcome in a casino, if he is indeed a card counter, than the bandit that recently held up the Bellagio. Also, the thought of a "Hood" assisting Metro by offering a reward and having a reporter ask Metro about it was quite amusing. As to whether the bandit got away with this or is going to be able to cash in his chips, there have been a lot of self-serving categorical statements made about how the chips are worthless, etc. I am not so sure. What I do know, is that from a public relations standpoint, the casinos want this narrative out there, that they are indeed worthless. It promotes a public perception that they have the situation under control, that they are paragons of efficiency and competency, that they have the security situation in hand, etc. Regardless, I don't doubt that they are reconsidering and updating their countermeasures as we speak.

  14. Leave it to The Sun readers to bash a man who has done many great things for the needy in our community.

    How you people make it through a day is unbelievable to me.

  15. "Security officers, reportedly concerned that he might shoot and worried for the safety of patrons in the area, didn't attempt to apprehend him."

    I call BS on that statement! The guy was in and out before security even new, that is a cover up of there vulnerability the (Hole in the fence) you might say. They made that statement up so the guest would feel safe.

    Just tell the truth we will respect you more if you do just stop with the BS.

  16. Chief wigisloose, no he doesn't match the perp's description, that is absurd, but it would make for a great movie plot. Mr. Hood, fit, handsome, more than likely lives in a palatial estate in one of the better Las Vegas neighborhoods. Probably drives a late model German luxury sedan. His, companion, Lady Griece, speaks for herself, a truly stunning beauty, undoubtedly with charm and personality to match. Contrast that with the Bellagio bandit, 5'10", 220lbs, a frumpy looking dude who could probably could do with some time in a local gym. Probably resides in some ratty apartment or perhaps a trailer park. Rides some clapped out Kawasaki sport bike. His woman, probably overweight also and none too attractive, no doubt drinks beer like it's going out of style, smokes two pack of cigarettes a day and swears like a sailor.

  17. Robin Hood 702 is inspiring for sure. I'd appreciate being in the same circumstances helping needy families with great illnesses.

  18. P.S. All kidding aside,if the Bellagio is serious,and won't change out their chips,I hope the bandit see's the folly of their escapade,and see's to it they arrange to have them big chips dropped into the Salvation Army's big kettle and prove it wasn't from big time poker players seeing to the needs of the less unforntunate.Nows your chance B. Bandit!

  19. I guess Mr. Hood knows which side his bread is buttered on and I do not fault him for that. It's great that he helps the needy. Since he is in control of the money he should be able to help anyone he chooses. Even if that person is a multi billion dollar for profit corporation. Do you think the Bellagio has insurance that covers this sort of thing? I wonder if "RH702" (or any of us for that matter) were robbed of $15,000 in chips in the parking lot or hotel room if Bellagio would offer a $500 reward? You might have to be killed or be a celebrity to generate that kind of interest.

    Based on the information provided by the LV Sun, his charity so far has been extended to those who are truly needy. Those that have no access to funds. The real victims of greed and selfishness. I commend him (or who ever sponsors him) for those deeds.

    So you see, I'm not criticizing "Robin Hood 702". I'm only suggesting that his thought process may be flawed by putting up money for a reward that the Bellagio should be responsible for. The victim of this crime is insured. Relatively speaking the victim suffered little and learned about it's own weaknesses.

    Surely there are individual victims who suffered infinitely more than the Bellagio did and "Robin Hood 702" is demeaning the more needy victims of violent crime in this city. Maybe he could use that reward money to help find the victim of an abduction or murder? There must be at least one case like that around here.