Armored Car Heist Outside Bally’s One For The Record Books

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All that was missing was a fresh-off-the-assembly line Ford Model V8, a couple of molls, and a guy punctuating his sentences with the word “see” like this: “This incident harkened back to something out of the 1930s, see?”

Actually, that last bit — minus the “see” — is exactly what Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said about a $1.7 million robbery outside Bally’s Casino earlier this month, and the ensuing arrest.

Dante J. McCluney, 35, was collared last week in connection with a burglary that occurred Nov. 5. Prosecutors allege McCluney, along with two accomplices, stole $1.7 million from an armored car parked outside Bally’s.

While the alleged ringmaster McCluney shares a similar name with movie star George Clooney, the facts of the case are less Ocean’s 11 and more … well, “Pond Scum 1.”

That said, this bold-as-brass attempt to rip off an armored car will definitely go down in Atlantic City history.

A ‘brazen’ burglary

“This was a brazen burglary of an armored car on a public street in broad daylight,” Tyner said in a press release. “Out of all the crimes I’ve seen committed in Atlantic County during my tenure, this incident harkened back to something out of the 1930s.  Thankfully, we have a talented, hard-working group of detectives who used old-fashioned detective work to track down Dante McCluney, and then identify the other suspects. It should be noted that a substantial amount of the stolen cash has been recovered.”

Prosecutors allege McCluney, along with two like-minded criminals, found themselves inside the armored car where they grabbed over $1.7 million in cash on Nov. 5. They took the bags into a gray Hyundai sedan and sped off.

McCluney clearly had some knowledge of the armored car he allegedly knocked off; he was previously employed as an armed guard for the same outfit, Rapid Armored Corporation (RAC).

Surveillance footage caught the trio in action, and two current employees of RAC were able to identify McCluney.

McCluney’s two accomplices are still at large. In the meantime, McCluney, of Newark, faces burglary, theft, and conspiracy charges.

“I want to thank the Atlantic City Police Department, the Atlantic City Resident Office of the FBI, and the detectives of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office for all of their investigative efforts in this matter,” Tyner said.

A big haul

McCluney’s $1.7 million heist is one of the largest casino robberies of all time. The champion crook in this corner of crime-dom has to be the 2013 Crown Casino job in Perth, Australia, where a high roller and a casino employee used closed circuit cameras to cheat the casino out of $32 million. The unnamed whale and his accomplice were caught in the act, most of the money was recovered immediately, and the player was predictably banned.

But as for actual, straight-up robberies? McCluney’s is certainly near the top. The biggest, though, happened in 1993 when an armored car driver collected $3.1 million outside of Circus Circus in Las Vegas. Instead of depositing the money, she simply … didn’t. The woman, 21-year-old Heather Tallchief and her boyfriend, Roberto Solis, fled the country with their ill-gotten gains. Tallchief eventually turned herself in some dozen years later, and Solis remains at large.

Another recent record-setting robbery occurred in December 2010, when Anthony Carleo — the “Biker Bandit” — waltzed into the Bellagio in Las Vegas wearing a biker helmet and walked out with $1.5 million in chips. He tried to sell them to cash out his gains, but one of the people he tried to deal with was an undercover cop. Carleo is currently serving time for his robbery.

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Jeff Edelstein

Jeff is a veteran journalist, working as a columnist for The Trentonian newspaper in Trenton, NJ for a number of years. He's also an avid sports bettor and DFS player. He can be reached at jedelstein@bettercollective.com.

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