From the slots to the car staying safe at a casino

From the slots to the car staying safe at a casino

CREATED Mar 20, 2012

Reporter: Corinne Hautala

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – Two women were followed from inside Casino del Sol to their home where they were robbed at gunpoint.  What kind of security do casinos provide?

Investigators with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department said a group of four approached the two victims inside Casino del Sol, around 2 a.m. Tuesday morning.  The two women felt uncomfortable, so they left the casino.

When the victim’s drove into the garage at a home on Los Reales and Camino De La Tierra, one of the men from the group of four, that they encountered inside the casino, was behind them.  He slid underneath the door as it was closing.  Deputies said he pistol whipped one woman and stole each of their purses.

Deputies spotted the robber’s truck and a police pursuit began.  It ended, when the truck crashed into a building on I-19 and Ajo.  21-year-old Nina Roxanne Smith and 30-year old Caron Ramell Rivers were killed.

Rivers 33-year old brother, Cory Rivers is charged with two counts of first degree murder, burglary, armed robbery and aggravated assault.  A woman survived the crash and has not been charged.

Outside Casino del Sol, Tuesday evening, 9OYS met Joan Justice.  She’s a regular at the casino and explained she is extra cautious when leaving the casino, because she was robbed at gunpoint before in another casino parking lot.

“He said ‘give me your purse lady’ as he stuck a gun in my face,” she recalled.

She said since that day she’s always aware of her surroundings, especially when walking out of the casino.

“We're very aware of cars.  Very aware of not walking between cars,” she said.  “If someone's in the car just keep walking.”

Dave Palmero said he goes to the casino a couple times a week and he usually goes at night.

“I make sure I walk where it is well-lit,” he said.

Sol Casinos CEO Wendell Long told 9OYS Casino del Sol spends millions of dollar each year on security, which includes a 24-hour video surveillance system.

“We have almost a hundred security and surveillance personnel, which undergo thousands of hours of training each year,” Long said in addition to hundreds of security cameras.

The security extends to the parking lot at Casino del Sol.  The casino has security patrolling the parking lot and surveillance cameras.

“Anytime a visitor feels uncomfortable about anything, whether they just won a jackpot or whether they may just feel uncomfortable, all they have to do is just talk to any of the employees who will notify the security team,” explained Long, “and be happy to call the police if necessary or escort them to their vehicle.”

Security personnel said at a casino, never brag about winning, don't bring attention to yourself if you win, and walk in and out of the casino in pairs.

Most casinos also offer cashiers checks instead of cash, for guests collecing their winnings.