Colorado authorities are investigating a mountain town casino heist of $500,000 in cash — the biggest theft from a casino that state regulators can remember since gambling started again in 1991.
The theft from the Monarch Casino Resort and Spa, located 34 miles west of Denver in Black Hawk, occurred March 12. Casino cashier Sabrina Eddy, 44, has been jailed on suspicion of theft and was still in her cell Tuesday afternoon, according to a Gilpin County Clerk deputy who spoke on the condition her name wouldn’t be used.
Monarch officials declined to say how money was removed from inside the casino.
“While we can confirm that the theft occurred,” Casino spokeswoman Erica Ferris said, “this is currently an active and open investigation and Monarch is making no comment.”
According to a Gilpin County District Court affidavit issued in support of a warrantless arrest, Eddy was working shortly after midnight in the Monarch as the “cage cashier” responsible for casino money when she received phone and text messages from men claiming to be casino bosses. They instructed her to take money needed by the casino to pay a lawyer, the affidavit said.
Surveillance cameras captured images of Eddy putting $50,000 bricks of money into a box and then loading that money into a gold-colored minivan, the affidavit said. She left the casino, and later returned and went to the vault and took more money, then drove as she said she’d been instructed to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver — and handed the money to a man near the emergency room, the affidavit said. She later called the casino, said she’d taken money away from the casino, and added that she thought she might be arrested, it said.
“Eddy continued to state that she had done nothing wrong but she was just following orders that she believed had been put out by the casino,” the affidavit said.
Colorado Division of Gaming officials, charged with regulating the gambling industry, declined to discuss this heist, other than to confirm “active administrative and criminal investigations” into what happened.
“The Division of Gaming is working with our local law enforcement and criminal justice partners to investigate this incident thoroughly and will not comment further on this case until the investigative, administrative, and criminal processes have concluded,” Colorado Department of Revenue spokeswoman Suzanne Karrer wrote in an email.
In 1990, Colorado voters approved a Colorado Limited Gaming Initiative that legalized some gambling in the mountain towns of Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek.
In 2003, a casino security guard in Cripple Creek was suspected in a $300,000 theft from JP McGills, state regulators said. In 2010, a robber who brandished a gun and stole $28,000 from Central City’s Famous Bonanza later was shot and eventually was sentenced to 224 years in prison. In 1993, armed robbers took $8,000 from the Gold Rush Casino and Hotel in Cripple Creek before they were arrested.
“This latest case is the largest theft we can find, but small thefts occur regularly, and fraudulent acts are the crime we respond to the most, getting several every week,” Karrer said.
The Monarch Casino in Black Hawk houses 740 slot machines, 14 game tables, and a 250-seat buffet. It is owned by Reno, Nevada-based Monarch Casino and Resort Inc., which in February reported 2022 fourth quarter revenues of $120.5 million due in part to “the ongoing ramp-up of our expanded and enhanced Black Hawk property.”
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