Three arrested in Las Vegas robberies

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- A former security guard at the Stardust Resort Casino was charged Thursday in this week's $1.1 million robbery at the hotel, and two men were charged in robberies at two other casinos in the last two weeks.

Police said Royal M. Hopper, 57, who worked more than two years at the Stardust before resigning Jan. 14 after he was robbed of $150,000 at the casino, was arrested Wednesday at his son's residence in Las Vegas. He was charged Thursday with robbery and use of a deadly weapon.


Police said two bandits touched off homemade smoke bombs near the main money cage at the Stardust about 7:45 a.m. Monday, disarming an armored car guard who was leaving with a pickup of $500,000 in cash and $600,000 in negotiable checks.

Lt. Charlie Davidaitis said the police relied on surveillance tapes and witnesses, but refused to say if they have identified the other suspect.

Police also arrested two men who may be part of a gang that held up the Palace Station Hotel Casino Wednesday about 2:10 a.m., and twice robbed the change windows of an unspecified amount of money at Arizona Charlie's -- last Sunday and on March 30.


Rick Jones, director of security for the Palace Station, said two armed men held up a slot machine change booth -- described as a 'mini- bank inside a cage with bars -- and made off with 'a liitle over $8,000. ' No one was injured.

Jones said hotel security officers followed the suspects into a housing area in a poor part of the city and waited near their abandoned car until police arrived with a helicopter and a canine unit. The search turned up nothing, but using surveillance photos from the casino and other evidence, police arrested Terry Malone, 20, and William J. Culverson, 22, Thursday.

Malone was charged with armed robbery and use of a deadly weapon in both robberies, said Davidaitis. Culverson was charged with one count of armed robbery at Arizona Charlie's.

Davidaitis said the Stardust robbery was apparently not connected with the other two casino holdups.

Jones said he believes those involved with the Palace and Arizona Charlie's robberies are part of a 'gang,' and Davidaitis said police were looking for two other suspects.

Kathy Espin, director of publicity, at the Stardust, said the primary concern of their security officers is to protect guests and employees, and she feels 'they did that very well.'


Espin said there is a disagreement between the hotel and Loomis Armored Inc., over who is responsible for replacing the stolen money.

'It's a legal matter,' she said.

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