Hard Rock Casino gambler in Tampa robbed after openly celebrating $53K in winnings

Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times
·3 min read

A gambler who won $53,000 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino earlier this summer was followed back to his hotel and robbed after he publicly flaunted his cash prize, according to court records. The suspects got away with at least $10,000.

Before the robbery, the man “was taking pictures with his recently won cash,” according to a search warrant for one of the suspect’s cellular phone data filed by Tampa police. Surveillance footage from June 14, the night of the incident, shows three suspects arriving at the casino about 12:40 a.m. in a red Alfa Romeo, which is an Italian luxury car.

Police have identified two of the three suspects, according to the warrant, but the Tampa Bay Times is not naming the men because there haven’t been any reports of the men being arrested or charged with a crime.

According to the search warrant, surveillance footage from inside the casino shows the three men watching the gambler cash out his winnings at the collection cage. The gambler “made it obvious of his earning... in sight of the three suspects,” the warrant said. Shortly after, the gambler and the suspects are seen exiting the casino.

The gambler left the casino in a black taxi, which was followed by the red Alfa Romeo for about 20 minutes until reaching the Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk, 111 W Fortune St. The taxi arrived at the hotel about 1:15 a.m., and surveillance footage shows the gambler exit the car with a paper bag containing the cash winnings.

The man entered the hotel lobby and walked toward the elevators followed by one of the men from the Alfa Romeo, according to the search warrant. Hotel cameras captured the suspect grabbing the man’s Hard Rock Casino paper bag and running out of the lobby. The gambler chased the suspect and tackled him outside the front doors of the hotel.

As the two men wrestled on the ground, footage shows the Alfa Romeo pull up and one man exit from the rear passenger’s side door. The man pushed the gambler off the suspect and ran back to the car, the warrant said. The man who grabbed the paper bag of cash also fled down the sidewalk, leaving the view of the camera.

Footage shows the gambler collecting his belongings off the ground and re-entering the hotel lobby. Language in the police search warrant does not make it clear whether he still had his paper bag of cash winnings. Once he is inside the hotel, the suspect who initially tried to rob him is seen picking up the man’s jacket and a band of $10,000 left on the ground.

At 1:23 a.m., traffic cameras located on the Cass Street Bridge captured the red Alfa Romeo crossing over the bridge toward West Tampa.

Tampa police have not reported any arrests in the case. Multiple requests by the Times to Tampa police seeking more information went unanswered.

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