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Police Arrest Former Security Guard in Casino Heist

April 10, 1992 GMT

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Police investigating a daring $1.1 million heist at the Stardust Hotel’s casino have arrested a former security guard at the Strip resort.

Royal Mayne Hopper Jr., 57, was being held Thursday at the Clark County Detention Center for investigation of robbery with the use of a deadly weapon.

Authorities were seeking two more people in connection with the robbery. FBI spokesman Burk Smith said his agency was ″pursuing numerous, very promising leads.″

Two armed men knocked down a guard carrying $1.1 million in cash and checks to an armored car Monday at the Stardust, then ignited two smoke bombs to create confusion and allow their getaway. The two robbers fled through an employee’s entrance and were picked up by a waiting car and driver.

Metro Police served a search warrant at Hopper’s apartment Wednesday, hauling out guns and boxes of belongings and towing away two vehicles. Detectives also questioned another man at the apartment, who was not arrested.

Hopper was working as a security guard at the resort on Sept. 25 when a gunman robbed him of $150,000. He was never implicated in that heist.

In that robbery, Hopper was accompanying a cart containing cash and chips when he was approached by a gunman who said: ″This is no joke.″ The gunman escorted him outside the casino, then fled with the cash and chips.

In the latest heist, authorities suspected the robbers had inside knowledge of the Stardust because they knew when the guard would be picking up money, made a point of turning their faces away from surveillance cameras, and escaped through the employees’ exit.

″It certainly fits with everyone’s suspicion that the robbers had previously worked here or had inside information,″ said Chuck Ruthe, president of the Boyd Group, which owns the Stardust.

Police also announced the arrest of two men in connection with recent robberies of casinos at the Palace Station and Arizona Charlies. Those robberies were not believed to be related to the Stardust heist.

The two were identified as William Culverson, 22, and Terry Maloney, 19. Their hometowns were not immediately known.