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Cocky casino gunman escapes by cab

Melbourne's Crown Casino is Australia's largest gaming complex  

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Police are hunting for a brazen gunman who stole a six-figure sum of cash from Australia's largest casino and then escaped by cab.

The unmasked gunman, whose picture was clearly captured on security video, took the money from the cashier's cage in the exclusive "high roller" room in the Melbourne Casino in the early hours of Tuesday.

The thief, a man believed to be in his forties, then made his getaway by hailing a cab from outside the casino.

He left a large wad of cash in the cab as a tip when he was dropped off at the nearby inner city suburb of Kensington.

A spokesman for the casino -- which is owned by Australia's richest man, Kerry Packer -- said the man waved a gun in the face of several staff but no customers or employees were hurt in the raid.

"The person produced a handgun and waved it in the face of two staff," spokesman Gary O'Neill told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.

"They were obviously fairly traumatized by the experience, but thankfully no one was injured," he said.

O'Neill said the man made no attempt to disguise himself and was obviously "no Einstein".

Detective Bernie Jackson of the Armed Defender Squad told Australian Associated Press that using a cab as a getaway vehicle indicated the robbery had not been well planned.


"There is very good security footage from the casino and from the taxi," he told reporters.

The man struck around 5 a.m. local time -- a period when the enormous casino complex was relatively quiet.

Victorian State Police are now searching the Kensington area for the man, and conducting forensic examinations of the discarded cash and the cab.

It is not known precisely how much money was taken.




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