Suspects Jailed But $500,000 Missing
In March 12 2023, the largest casino heist in Colorado history took place at the Monarch Casino in Black Hawk. Over $500,000 was stolen in this brazen early morning theft that made headlines across the state. Here is a complete overview of what happened during this record-breaking casino robbery, the investigations and findings, and other key details about the Black Hawk casino heist.
The Heist and Suspects
How the Historic Theft Unfolded
In the early morning hours of March 12th, surveillance cameras captured Monarch Casino cashier Sabrina Eddy removing bricks of $50,000 in cash from the casino vault. She loaded the money into a box, placed rags over the cash, taped up the box and wheeled it out to her gold minivan in the parking garage.
Eddy initially made two trips to remove a total of $500,000 in cash. She later claimed she was following instructions from someone impersonating a casino boss who told her the money was needed to pay a lawyer and should be transported to St. Anthony's Hospital in Denver.
Casino Cashier and Additional Suspect Arrested
Shortly after the theft, Eddy was identified as the prime suspect and arrested by the Gilpin County Sheriff's Office. The 44-year-old cashier was charged with theft of between $100,000 to $1 million.
In May, a second suspect was arrested in connection with the case - 31-year-old Juan Gutierrez-Zambrano. Investigators believe he met Eddy in a hospital parking lot to pick up the stolen cash.
Investigations and Findings
Casino Security Footage Reveals Brazen Theft
Security footage from inside the Monarch Casino cage area provided investigators with video evidence of the step-by-step theft. The arrest affidavit describes Eddy removing bricks of cash from the vault and loading them into a box she had brought.
Surveillance video also showed Eddy wheeling the boxed money out to her van in the parking garage. This allowed investigators to quickly identify her as the prime suspect.
Polygraph Casts Doubt on Eddy's Initial Claims
When first questioned, Eddy claimed she was ordered to steal the cash by someone impersonating a casino boss. But when she took a polygraph test, deception was indicated in her answers.
After the failed polygraph, Eddy admitted to investigators that unknown associates of her late husband had actually forced her to steal the money under threat to her family.
Traffic Cameras Help Identify Second Suspect
Investigators used traffic cameras, cell phone records and other evidence to identify Gutierrez-Zambrano as the person who met Eddy to pick up the stolen cash. Video showed the vehicle description Eddy originally provided did not match the car that pulled into the parking lot.
Key Facts on Colorado's Biggest Casino Heist
Largest Theft Since Casino Gaming Legalized in 1991
At over $500,000 stolen, the Monarch Casino heist is the largest in Colorado since casino gaming was legalized in 1991. The closest previous theft happened in 2003 when $300,000 was stolen from a Cripple Creek casino.
Division of Gaming Leading the Investigation
Colorado's Division of Gaming is in charge of investigating casino crimes in the state. The agency has 60 sworn law enforcement agents with full authority to enforce gaming regulations and conduct criminal investigations related to casinos.
Millions in Revenue for Monarch Casino Parent Company
The Monarch Casino in Black Hawk brought in over $120 million in revenue in 2022 for its parent company based in Reno, Nevada. The casino houses nearly 1,000 slot machines and 40 gaming tables.
Historic Mining Town Transformed into Casino Destination
Black Hawk was once a mining town during the Colorado gold rush in the 1800s. After casino gaming was legalized in 1991, it became a gambling destination with large casinos built in the historic downtown area.
The Aftermath and Outcome
In the months following the theft, the investigation has continued under the jurisdiction of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Both suspects arrested remain out on bond pending possible indictments and trial.
The Monarch Casino heist stands as the biggest casino theft in recent Colorado history. While the stolen $500,000 has not yet been recovered, the brazen robbery led to major investigations that quickly identified the two main suspects now facing criminal charges.