Gunman robs Bellagio of $1.5 million in chips

In the wee hours Tuesday, a man on a motorcycle pulled up to the Bellagio hotel and casino in Las Vegas, ambled over to a craps table, and just a few minutes later left with $1.5 million worth of chips.

Luck had nothing to do with his windfall. But it was certainly a gamble, and Las Vegas police are now in pursuit of him for armed robbery.

About 3:50 a.m., the man sped away from the casino on his motorcycle, toting chips ranging in denomination from $100 to $25,000. Police said he wore a motorcycle helmet and carried a handgun.

The robbery took just minutes to pull off.

"He parked, he walked in, he committed the robbery," Lt. Clint Nichols of the Las Vegas Police Department said in a televised news conference Tuesday. The heist was "that quick," he said.

Police said investigators thought the man was also connected to a Dec. 9 robbery at the Suncoast Hotel and Casino, also in Las Vegas. Approximately $20,000 in cash was stolen from the cage at a poker tournament in that incident.

The heist at the Bellagio was the 10th casino robbery this year, according to police. Nichols said Tuesday's robbery ranked as one of the biggest in his memory.

Ultimately, though, it's unlikely the robber will enjoy his loot, the casino said.

"Casino chips are not like cash," said Yvette Monet, spokeswoman for the Bellagio's parent company, MGM Resorts. "At some point they must be redeemed for cash at the Bellagio."