On Friday night, a man robbed the poker room cashier at the Bellagio in Las Vegas and was killed by metro police in a shootout outside the casino. At the time, police did not release the name of the suspect, but they since have. And the interesting thing about it is that he has a history with the same crime at the same location.
The robber was identified to the media by Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank as 49-year old Michael Cohen (no on THAT Michael Cohen). In a report accompanied by video of the incident, he called Cohen “a brazen criminal that showed no regard for his victims.”
The video is wild and the events that lasted all of a minute or so must have been absolutely terrifying for the patrons and staff of the Bellagio. At 9:45pm Friday, Cohen approached the poker room cage with a gun and demanded money. The cashier handed over the cash, trained to do so in order to avoid any escalation, and Cohen fled fairly calmly out the north exit to the valet area.
Cohen apparently had no set plan to actually escape, so he got into the first car he saw, an unoccupied, unlocked white Mercedes. He couldn’t find the keys, so within seconds, he left the car and when to another one parked a few yards behind it, a black BMW. There was a woman in the driver’s seat of that one, though, and she refused to let him in. She rolled a few feet forward and then Cohen rapped on the window with his gun.
At that point, four Las Vegas Metro Police Department bicycle officers who happened to be right there in a separate investigation, saw what was happening and drew their weapons to attempt to detain Cohen. Cohen shot one of the officers in the chest and fled, but after just a few steps, officer Joaquin Escobar shot him once, fatally wounding Cohen.
Fortunately, the officer who was shot was protected by his bulletproof vest and was released from the hospital that night.
Now, aside from the violence and scariness of the robbery, what is interesting about this is that police have said that Cohen is also the suspect they were never able to catch from the November 2017 robbery of the same Bellagio poker room cage.
Security photos seem to confirm this, as he was wearing nearly the same outfit on both occasions, including a black knit cap, glasses, and some sort of bandage on one side of his face, possibly to help conceal his identity. He was also holding a cell phone to his face on Friday night, for whatever reason (that would seem to hinder one’s ability to commit a robbery and escape, though maybe it was to try to make himself look like any other tourist). The one thing missing this time was the blonde wig he wore in 2017.