Las Vegas Police Officer Convicted in Series of Casino Heists, Faces Potential Life Sentence

A Las Vegas police officer has been convicted by a federal jury on all charges related to a series of casino heists, which involved the theft of nearly $165,000. Caleb Rogers, 35, could potentially receive a life sentence due to his use of a loaded department-issued weapon during the third robbery in February 2022. U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon has scheduled his sentencing for October.

After just over three hours of deliberation, the jury reached a verdict. Lloyd Dickerson, one of the jurors, explained that their decision was based on common sense and the accumulation of evidence and testimonies from various witnesses.

Rogers remained impassive as the verdict was read in the courtroom, sitting next to his attorney. Richard Pocker, Rogers’ legal counsel, stated that they plan to appeal the conviction.

At the time of the heists, Rogers was an active-duty patrol officer and has been on unpaid leave without police powers since his arrest. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson stated that Rogers’ future with the department will be determined after an internal investigation is concluded.

During the trial, Rogers’ younger brother, Josiah Rogers, testified against him for over three hours, providing the jurors with detailed information about their involvement in the first heist. Josiah Rogers admitted his participation in that particular robbery, while Caleb Rogers carried out the other two alone, according to the prosecutors.

Throughout the trial, the prosecution depicted Rogers as a gambling addict burdened by overwhelming debt, which led him to commit the robberies targeting casinos off the Las Vegas Strip. Prosecutors emphasized that his background as a law enforcement officer provided him with specialized knowledge and skills that he exploited during the crimes.

Testimonies from casino employees who encountered the robberies revealed the lasting impact on their lives. A security guard who wrestled with the suspect for his loaded weapon described how the incident haunts him, reflecting on the possibility of not returning home to his family. Additionally, a 63-year-old cashier admitted to feeling constantly watchful while handling cash at work.

Assistant U.S. attorney David Kiebler argued that the evidence from all three robberies pointed to Caleb Rogers as the perpetrator. However, Rogers’ defense attorney, Richard Pocker, deemed most of the government’s evidence circumstantial and suggested it was convenient for a police department struggling to solve the other robberies prior to Rogers’ arrest.

The trial reached a turning point when Josiah Rogers testified against his brother, granted immunity in exchange for his cooperation. He shared details of their planning, including the use of code words in an encrypted messaging app. Josiah Rogers revealed that they successfully robbed the Red Rock Casino’s cashier cage, accumulating $73,810, before he took his share and returned to Columbus, Ohio.

The focus of the trial had primarily been on the third robbery in February 2022, which led to Caleb Rogers’ arrest outside the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Prosecutors described how he forcefully entered the casino’s sportsbook, threatened a cashier, and stole $79,000 while brandishing a weapon. Security guards apprehended him shortly afterward, causing the wig he had been wearing to fall off during the struggle.

Mehmet Erdem, a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, specializing in hotel and casino operations, explained that casino heists are difficult to execute successfully due to the high probability of identification and capture. The robust security measures implemented by casinos, including uniformed guards, plainclothes officers, and advanced surveillance technology, contribute to the challenges faced by would-be robbers. (NBC News)