Philadelphia Cops Allege Duo Robbed Casino’s Asian Workers, Players

Posted on: February 19, 2020, 03:30h. 

Last updated on: February 19, 2020, 03:44h.

Philadelphia police are continuing to investigate a pair of alleged robbers who apparently targeted 16 or more Asian players or employees as they made their way home from the city’s Rivers Casino.

Perry Kellam (left) and Tyrone Tarpley are facing multiple robbery counts in connection with the hold-ups of Asian employees and players after leaving Rivers Casino Philadelphia. (Image: Philadelphia Police Department via KYW)

Police announced this week that Perry Kellam, 33, and Tyrone Tarpley, 38, allegedly robbed at least 16 victims in a stream of incidents which took place between November 2018 and last week, according to WCAU TV. Kellam is suspected in multiple similar crimes occurring over the last couple of years, news reports said.

When asked about the arrests, an FBI spokeswoman told on Wednesday, “We remain in close contact with our partners at [the] PPD [Philadelphia Police Department], and, if in the course of the local investigation, information comes to light of a potential federal violation, the FBI is prepared to investigate.” The FBI’s Philadelphia office earlier aided local police in the inquiry.

When asked for its comment, Rivers Casino Philadelphia, formerly known as Sugar House Casino,  issued a statement to Casino.Org: “The safety and security of our guests and team members is our highest priority.

“Our property is monitored 24/7 by state-of-the-art surveillance technology. We cooperated fully and actively with local law enforcement on their investigation, and we commend the officers for their work.”

The casino features several Asian-themed games and markets itself to Philadelphia’s relatively large regional Asian community. On its website, Rivers Casino Philadelphia says it “offers a variety of Asian-inspired table games, including Baccarat, EZ Pai Gow Poker, Pai Gow Tiles, Asian Poker…. In addition to its standard table-game offerings, Rivers features Asian-inspired electronic table games, including baccarat on our Dynasty platform.”

Details on Philadelphia Arrests

The victims in the Rivers Casino-related hold-ups were followed driving back to their homes after being at the casino, WPVI TV reported, citing police sources. The hold-ups took place just as the victims got out of their cars in front of their residences, the report adds.

In two of the hold-ups, the bandits brandished a gun, police said. The robberies occurred in Philadelphia, as well as Springfield Township, Montgomery County, and Tinicum Township, Delaware County, police add.

Perry Kellam was arrested at his residence last week and charged in connection with 10 hold-ups for robbery, racketeering-influenced corrupt organization (RICO), conspiracy and other offenses taking place over the past two years, WCAU reported.

Police further claim he is a suspect in at least six additional robberies, the report adds. KYW Radio News further reported that police expect to charge Kellam for the other robberies. In 2013, Kellam was arrested in connection with other robberies, WCAU said.

Tarpley was also arrested last week. He was charged with robbery, RICO, conspiracy, and related offenses in three of the hold-ups, WCAU said.

Targeting Asians at Casino

Numerous Asian-American organizations contacted by declined to comment on the arrests.

“I think clearly they were targeted in part because they’re Asian,” Philadelphia Councilmember David Oh, an Asian American, has told WPVI TV. “Asian Americans, like other groups of Americans, are often seen as easy victims, so it’s good to be alert and careful.”

Rivers Casino is located on the Delaware Riverfront in Philadelphia. It has some 1,755 slots, 105 table games, 62 hybrid gaming seats, a 28-table poker room, and a sportsbook for sports betting. It has some 1,600 employees and is owned by Rush Street Gaming.

In 2017, NBC News reported how a federal judge sentenced a Philadelphia man to 37 years in prison for a series of armed home-invasion robberies in 2015 targeting Asian business owners, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The victims were spotted at their workplaces and followed back to their homes before the robberies were carried out days later, the US Attorney’s Office explained to NBC News.

Philadelphia’s police department provides a Victims Compensation Assistance Program. If any victims suffered crime-related financial hardships from medical expenses or loss of income, they could be reimbursed.