There was a lot of drama at the Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas during the early hours of March 25 but it wasn’t to do with the action at the gaming tables. There was commotion at the property after armed and masked gunmen attacked a high end retailer located at the hotel.
The robbers used sledgehammers to break into the jewellery cases of Tesorini, a luxury jewellery and watch retailer. The store wasn’t open at the time of the incident. According to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police detectives, at least three armed men wearing formal clothing and animal masks broke into the store and grabbed several items from the store before fleeing. Photographs and surveillance cameras show the men wearing dark trousers and masks, carrying a bag.
Initially there were fears of an active shooter after reports of shots being fired came from witnesses, sparking panic among people in the vicinity of the casino. Even as the police arrived hundreds fled from the property, flooding neighbouring streets. Others hid under tables or in emergency stairwells for safety.
But police later clarified that the sound of the burglars breaking the store glass frontage had been mistaken for shots. Metro Lt. Carlos Hank stated that there had been no shots fired at all though the men were carrying guns. The Bellagio was put on lock-down for around 30 minutes after the attack and guests were evacuated. Several people have been questioned in connection with the attack and there is an open investigation. One suspect is reportedly in custody.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Metro dept. said,
The preliminary investigation suggests that at least three suspects entered a retail store to commit the burglary. It is believed that at least one suspect fired shots inside the store. At this time, one suspect has been taken into custody.
The store remained closed for the day according to media reports. The police also issued a clarification that there was no connection between the burglary and a shootout that occurred a few hours later on a bus on Las Vegas Boulevard outside the Cosmopolitan casino. The shooting resulted in one person dying of injuries though the shooter subsequently surrendered. Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts said that the shooting had no motive and the shooter might have had mental issues. The Metro called it an isolated incident.
Several Las Vegas casinos nevertheless took protective measures, with some requesting guests to remain inside the casino and others restricting entry and exit. The two events taking place on the same day however left many wondering about the coincidence.