Colombian Police Capture Last Suspects in Golden Jack Casino Heist

Posted on: June 5, 2023, 08:41h. 

Last updated on: June 5, 2023, 10:49h.

The robbery of a casino in Colombia earlier this year didn’t go well for the three perpetrators, despite having help from an inside source. Police had already made one arrest in connection with the theft from the Golden Jack Casino, and have now captured the other two supects.

Colombian police officers on patrol
Colombian police officers on patrol. Police have arrested two people accused of robbing a casino this past January. (Image: Infobae)

The attempted robbery of the venue, located in Aguazul, six hours to the east of Bogota, took place this past January. From that moment, the police began to follow the trail of the criminals. Last Friday, they finally caught up with two of the suspects, and the Villavicencio Metropolitan Police reported the capture of three men.

Following the heist, investigators immediately figured out that a casino employee had a hand in the job. However, he should have been better prepared as the crooks appear all over surveillance footage.

Hide and Seek

On the day of the robbery, according to police reports, the criminals were confronted by officers who tracked them to a hideout. They got away, but left behind a motorcycle and part of the money, launching a game of hide-and-seek that would last for months.

The amount of money the trio took has been disputed. There were initial reports that said they stole COP50 million (about US$11,485), although the casino later said it was only COP15 million (about $3,300). Police recovered COP5,000 (US$1,100) when the thieves ditched the motorcycle and part of the cash.

Ditching the motorcycle allowed the authorities to track the license plate number to a house. There, they questioned an adult male who they would learn was the father of the motorcycle’s owner. It was there that the man learned his son was a casino crook, and he convinced his son to turn himself in. However, the other two suspects were still free.

The investigation, with the help of security cameras throughout the municipality, followed the route taken by the pair. Authorities eventually tracked them to a store in a rural area of ​​the village of Cupiagua.

While that was going on, other officers were compiling information from workers and witnesses at the casino. It later surfaced that the unidentified employee may have been the ringleader of the group, looking for a quick score to get out from under some debt. He had apparently been spending his salary at the same gaming house, but wasn’t a prolific gambler. He racked up losses before hatching his failed plan to rob the casino.

When investigators had all the facts and confirmed the location of the remaining two conspirators, prosecutors issued arrest warrants.

Could Have Been Worse

In some ways, crime is on the rise in Colombia. There have already been a number of violent thefts this year, including one at a casino that left a police officer dead.

While theft from commercial establishments is always a concern, innocently walking down Colombian streets is now a hazard. There has been an increase in the number of kidnapping-for-extortion cases, and no one is immune.

The Colombia Ministry of Defense highlights 71 such cases from January to March of this year. During that same period last year, there were only 35. At the same time, in all of 2022, there were 222 kidnappings, 38% more than in 2021.

That’s an unsettling trend, especially since some of the victims don’t have any money. A good example is Heriberto Urbina. The 86-year-old has been kidnapped three times in the past 26 years. Each time, the assailants let him go after learning that the family can’t pay the ransom.