An off-duty Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officer accused of robbing a casino with his department-issued gun and suspected in two other robberies has been charged with federal crimes, officials announced Thursday.
Caleb Rogers, 33, has been charged with interference with commerce by robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence in connection with a robbery last month, prosecutors with the Justice Department’s Las Vegas office said.
He was arrested Feb. 27 after reportedly robbing the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino at gunpoint and attempting to abscond with $78,898 just before 7 a.m., according to federal prosecutors.
“Get away from the money,” he said to two employees and climbed over a counter, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada. “I’ve got a gun. I will shoot you!”
Rogers grabbed the loot, and after an alarm was triggered, made for the parking garage, prosecutors said. But at least one hotel security employee tackled him.
Rogers allegedly pulled out a handgun, put a finger on the trigger, and threatened to shoot. The guard was able to get the suspect under control, and soon Rogers' fellow Metro officers were at the scene to make what prosecutors say was a key discovery, according to the court filing.
Police said they seized from Rogers a black, drawstring bag with the cash inside, and a Ruger revolver with a serial number covered by a yellow sticker, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
That number revealed the weapon belongs to the Las Vegas Metro department, and it was assigned to Rogers in a time span that includes the robberies, federal prosecutors said.
Prosecutors also said the officer had no identification, but he was wearing a ballistic vest. After he had been detained, Rogers identified himself in a specific way officers speak to each other, the criminal complaint says: “Rogers, P No. 15666.”
Investigators soon began to suspect a larger spree because the suspect in other recent casino robberies wore black latex gloves, as did the Rio suspect, and because the man they sought kicked his left foot out with each step, a particular gait seen in security videos, the U.S. Attorney's office said.
The first robbery occurred at 3:38 a.m. on Nov. 12 when a man took $73,810 from a cashier at the off-strip Red Rock Resort and Casino by demanding the cash and keeping a hand in his pocket, where investigators believe he had a gun, prosecutors alleged.
The second happened at 4:26 a.m. on Jan. 6 at the Aliante Casino + Hotel + Spa in the city of North Las Vegas, according to the court filing. A person took $11,500 after backing a white Volkswagen hatchback into a spot reserved for accessible parking, the filing said.
charged in the two other robberies. He has not been federally charged in the November and January robberies.
He appeared in federal court Thursday but did not enter a plea. An attorney who represented the officer in court in recent weeks and the federal public defender's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Youchah ordered Rogers detained until at least a preliminary hearing March 24, said U.S. Attorney’s spokeswoman Trisha Young.
Rogers faces up to life in prison if convicted of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
His department said after his arrest in February that Rogers was placed on leave without pay and without police powers pending the outcome of federal and internal probes.
Rogers still faces state charges from the Rio arrest, including robbery with a deadly weapon, and was due in Las Vegas Justice Court on March 16 for a preliminary hearing, according to NBC affiliate KSNV of Las Vegas.