South Dakota Casino Robberies Continue, Teen Pleads Guilty to March Holdup

Posted on: December 31, 2020, 12:14h. 

Last updated on: December 31, 2020, 12:24h.

A Sioux Falls, South Dakota gaming property was robbed earlier this week, just days after a teenager pled guilty to a March robbery at a Rapid City casino.

Prompted by a robbery spree, Rapid City police organized a robbery strike force in March
Nicholas Allen Butler, age 19, pled guilty to a March casino robbery in Rapid City, SD. (Image: Pennington County Sheriff’s Office via KEVN)

In the recent heist, an unidentified man robbed the smaller Sioux Falls gaming venue as he brandished a handgun, reported KSFY, a local TV station. He had grabbed the arm of an employee and then scooped up the money.

He ran off with an unspecified amount of cash. There were about a half dozen people in the casino at the time of the robbery.

The bandit was reported to be about 6 feet tall. He was white and was wearing a blue plaid hooded jacket.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Nicholas Allen Butler, age 19, pled guilty to first-degree robbery in connection with the March robbery at Joker’s Casino in Rapid City, according to KEVN, another local TV station.

Butler faces up to 25 years in prison. He could pay up to $50,000 in fines.

Also charged in the Joker’s Casino holdup were two women: Shannon Larive, age 25, and Karmen Englert, age 36, the news report said.

The trio allegedly used a shotgun in the heist. Also, in March, Larive and Englert allegedly robbed South Dakota’s Market Square Casino. Larive also allegedly robbed Rushmore Casino, also located in the state.

Charges in those cases are still pending.

Earlier South Dakota Casino Heists

In October, a man robbed Jokers Casino South, also in Rapid City, according to KOTA, another local TV station. Upon walking up to an employee at the gaming property, the suspect indicated he was carrying a firearm. He demanded the employee hand over money.

The suspect was white. He was between 18 and 25 years old, and was wearing black pants and a black sweatshirt and black and white shoes and a white mask, the report said.

Last month, a convenience store employee in Sioux Falls escaped injury after a man entered the store with a machete. The store also housed gaming machines.

The Argus Leader, a local newspaper, reported the suspect was loitering in front of the Food-N-Fuel. He then entered the business.

He apparently continued to loiter inside. Staff asked him to leave.

Police identified him as LaShawn King Owens, 45, of Sioux Falls. He was charged with aggravated assault, carrying a concealed weapon, and failure to vacate, the Argus Leader said.

In addition, Sioux Falls police responded to two armed robberies at local casinos in November.

One robbery took place at Aces Casino. Another robbery took place about the same time at the Crown Casino.

One masked bandit, who was holding a firearm, confronted an Aces casino employee and demanded money from a cash drawer. A second robber stood guard. Before any money was swiped or injuries took place, the worker was able to escape to a nearby room. He locked the door.

At Crown Casino, a similar robbery took place. One robber demanded money and the other man stood guard. In that case, workers gave the bandits money before the duo fled.

Rapid City Police Start Strike Force to Combat Heists

Prompted by the robbery spree, the Rapid City Police Department organized a robbery strike force in March. Twelve local businesses were held up during the crime wave, including some casinos, KOTA reported.

Prior to those holdups, there was a robbery spree of a casino and gas stations in Sioux Falls in late 2019. One of the incidents was an armed robbery at Jokers Casino, KSFY reported.