Thursday, June 21, 2012 | 3:01 p.m.
Related storyWhat's in a name? (04-07-2008)
Nicknames, it seems, are making a comeback in the Las Vegas law enforcement world.
On Thursday, Metro Police released information on the “Mustache Bandit,” who is suspected of robbing several sandwich shops and small-electronics stores in the valley, and Henderson Police announced the arrest of the “Crowbar Robber,” suspected on two occasions of entering a business, pointing a gun at the clerk and ordering the clerks to the floor, then attempting to open the store’s safe with a crowbar.
Earlier this month the FBI asked for the public’s help in identifying the “Weatherman Bandit,” who has talked about the weather with employees at all seven of the banks he’s robbed since late 2010 in the Las Vegas Valley.
Back in the heyday of the mob, nicknames were all the rage: Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, Meyer “The Mob’s Accountant” Lansky, Momo Salvatore “Sam” Guingano, the “Hole in the Wall Gang.”
Here’s a look at some past criminals who earned nicknames from Las Vegas law enforcers.
Biker Bandit, 2010
The world came to know him as the “biker bandit,” the man who stole $1.5 million worth of casino chips from the Bellagio during a brazen heist Dec. 14, 2010. Seemingly ripped from the pages of a Hollywood script, then 29-year-old Anthony Carleo rode up to the casino entrance on a motorcycle, walked to a craps table, pulled a gun and demanded chips His downfall? He stole a wide range of chip denominations, including ones worth $25,000. He tried peddling them on an Internet poker website, using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org (a reference to the color of the $25,000 chips) and signing the emails, “biker bandit.” Metro Police caught up with him seven weeks after the robbery at the Bellagio, where he was gambling and attempting to sell chips to undercover officers.
Bathroom Bandit, 1998
The nickname was given during a month-long period in late 1998 when a man robbed seven taverns in the valley. Each time the suspect entered a bar, he would go into the bathroom and then emerge with a gun. The spree came to an end when one bartender notified police after a customer who looked like a composite drawing of the suspect came into his bar. Norman D. Atherley pleaded guilty to four counts of robbery and burglary and was sentenced to 30 to 180 months in prison.
Casino Bandit, 1995
During a 60-day period in 1995, the “Casino Bandit,'' committed a string of robberies in three states, including two casinos and a restaurant in Las Vegas and two casinos in Reno. Metro Police said the robber didn't bother wearing a disguise. Instead, he would approach casino clerks and give them handwritten notes that said he had a gun and was desperate for cash. A videotape shown on the TV show “America's Most Wanted'' led to the arrest of Michael Condiff on Jan. 2, 1996. Condiff served more than 13 years in prisons and jails in Texas, California and Nevada.
Cowboy Bandit, 1981
Ernie Bandics served more than seven years in a federal prison for his string of bank robberies in 1981 during which he was captured on security cameras in a cowboy hat and bandana, earning him the nickname of “Cowboy Bandit.'' There were almost daily news accounts of the one-man crime wave and the inability of the authorities to stop it. Finally Bandic's spree to feed a $400-a-day heroin habit came to a violent end when the stolen car he was driving crashed as he attempted to elude police. He was shot nine times while attempting to flee.