gaming - 300In 1993 I was employed by Anchor Coin Gaming Company (now defunct) and worked swing shift (3pm-11pm) in the money vault. I mostly worked all alone except when a service technician’s shift ended and I collected and counted their daily cash banks. It was a difficult job that required heavy lifting and tedious hours spent calculating spread sheets. I was the money guy. All cash transaction began and ended with me.

Each night, before I closed the vault, all currency had to be counted and locked away in a large safe that was located in a separate room we also used for coin storage. There were three alarms to activate: the coin room, the vault, and the main building. Once the alarms were set, I was free to leave the property. Unfortunately, Anchor Coin did not have a security guard on staff to monitor suspicious activity and that is how my nightmare began.

One night, as I walked across Anchor’s dimly lit parking lot after my shift ended, two individuals wearing American President Halloween masks and brandishing firearms approached me from behind. One of the men pointed a gun at the back of my head and demanded entry into the building. They wanted the money in the vault….ALL OF IT!

Luckily, I was not alone that night because I had offered a service technician a ride home. It was a good thing he was there because the new “emergency” alarm code for the main building, given to me that morning, was invalid and my co-worker quickly jumped in and used his code instead. The new code was supposed to notify the police of an emergency if we added a few extra numbers to our normal alarm code sequence.

actual vaultFrom there it was a typical robbery. I was forced to deactivate two more alarms and open the cash vault. Once the thieves gained access, they forced us to lie face down on the floor while they loaded up their bags with cash. The thugs even took money right out of our wallets! After that, they tied our hands to our face with duck tape and lead us into a nearby bathroom, locked the door and fled the scene.

We were lucky to be alive. The worst moment of that night came when I was lying on the floor, gun pointed at my head, wondering if I was about to be shot and killed. It was a horrible feeling of helplessness and fear. I spent many months after that incident looking over my shoulder for suspicious strangers. The culprits were eventually caught and it turned out to be an inside job by an employee, who recruited two teenagers to carry out the robbery.

The entire incident infuriated me (including all the blame given and denied between my bosses) and I refused to return to work until they hired an armed security team to protect us. Shortly after the incident, I sketched this drawing depicting Anchor Coin as a beacon for would-be criminals. I hung it in the breakroom until the trial was over and those involved were convicted.



Robbed — 13 Comments

  1. I had no idea you’d gone through this. What a scary thing to have to live through! Thank goodness you came out of it without physical injury. However, I’m sure it must have made you edgy for a long time afterwards. It would have done me.

    • It really was a scary thing to live through, Rob. I was edgy for years afterwards, but there was actually more to the story. The Slot technician behind the robbery did not like me at all because I was always arguing with him over mistakes he would make balancing in his bank. He purposely arranged the robbery on a night I was working.

      Even worse….a week before the robbery he had loosened the lug nuts on all four of my tires while I was working. I didn’t notice anything was wrong until I was driving up the on-ramp of the freeway. Luckily my car started to shake and I pulled over. Had the shaking not started until after I entered the freeway I would have been killed as my wheels fell off while driving 55mph.

        • His sentence for being the mastermind behind the robbery was only two years or so. My guess is he went on to commit other crimes and is probably rotting away in jail as we speak. Or at least that’s how I hope the story ends.

  2. I didn’t know of this incident either. Thankful that no one was hurt and that the perpetrators were caught. Working in those places was not the safest thing we could have done and when I look back on it, none of us were paid enough for the work we did and the danger we were in on a daily basis. Our employees-mainly the collectors were the ones we should have feared the most.

    • I am surprised I was never robbed during those early years as a coin runner with United Coin. But that was during the early 80’s…a much safer time in Las Vegas.

      Yes, the employees were to never be trusted. I remember catching Roy Pound stealing money from the drop. I turned him in and NOTHING was done even though he was caught red-handed with coin under his seat.

      If you remember, I quit shortly after that. I just couldn’t take the environment of distrust anymore. I should have never looked back, but by the time the job at Anchor Coin came about, I had forgotten how stressful working in gaming was.

      • Also, the incident involving Mike which occurred after I left and of course the thieving going on in the coin room with Al and that other character. I caught one of the other collectors when I was still a new employee doing paperwork that showed big problems on the dollar machines and nothing happened to him either.

  3. Wow, spooky stuff. You got out physically intact but the scars must still bother you sometimes. Sheesh – to put your life at risk to save a couple of bucks? And to have such a consistent schedule that any fool could know what time you were most vulnerable? Fools – really, the owners were as liable as the perpetrators. I’m so glad you were not injured worse than you were.

    • Gaming is a stressful business and I’m glad to be far away from it these days. What still bothers me about the robbery is the feeling of being out of control over your own life….that’s the most uncomfortable feeling in the world when another person decides if you live or die.

  4. Honestly Steve! Why didn’t you share this with me? I know I was wrapped up in getting married, but did this take place before or after I was there? So many questions with you, as always my paranoid (sometimes yes they actually are out to get you) Scorpion friend.

    • There would have been no reason not to share this story with you, Jeannie. Perhaps it fell into one of those communication voids that have plagued our friendship over the years. It’s that familiar void where I call and leave you message after message and you never call me back.

      Thankfully we have Facebook now, otherwise I’d never know what was happening in your life.

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