Las Vegas police officer found guilty of stealing almost $165k from casinos could get life sentence

A federal jury has found a Las Vegas police officer guilty of stealing nearly $165,000 in three casino heists

Rio Yamat
Friday 14 July 2023 18:38 EDT

A federal jury convicted a Las Vegas police officer Friday on all counts of stealing nearly $165,000 during a trio of casino heists, including one where he was armed with a department-issued weapon that was loaded.

Caleb Rogers, 35, faces life in prison upon sentencing because he brandished a revolver during the third casino heist he carried out in February 2022.

The jury reached a verdict after just over three hours of deliberation.

The case went to the jury shortly after Rogers’ younger brother testified against him for more than three hours, painting a clear picture for the jury of how the two successfully pulled off the first heist in the series. Josiah Rogers said he participated only in that robbery. Caleb Rogers carried out the other two heists alone, prosecutors said.

While waiting for the jury to enter the courtroom ahead of the verdict, Rogers stood next to his lawyers with his hands in his pockets, shifting his weight from one foot to another.

Throughout the weeklong trial, prosecutors had portrayed Rogers as a gambling addict who had grown increasingly desperate under a crush of debt when the robberies targeting casinos off the Las Vegas Strip began.

Jurors heard from casino employees who said they are still haunted by their encounters with the robber. A security guard wrestled with the suspect for his loaded weapon during on the of heists. He said he couldn’t stop thinking about how he might not have made it home to his family that day. And a 63-year-old cashier said she still looks over her shoulder when she handles cash at work.

Assistant U.S. attorney David Kiebler said in his closing argument Thursday that the evidence in all three robberies pointed to the same man: Caleb Rogers.

But Richard Pocker, the officer’s lawyer, called the bulk of the government’s evidence circumstantial and convenient for a police department that already had been trying for months — to no avail — to solve the other robberies when Rogers was arrested.

“They tried too hard here,” Pocker said in his closing argument. “It’s just too coincidental.”

Rogers’ trial came to a head Thursday when his brother took the stand.

Josiah Rogers was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony. Jurors scribbled notes and darted glances between the brothers as Josiah Rogers recounted the details. He said they rehearsed for their casino heist in November 2021. They used code words in an encrypted messaging app to communicate, he said. They returned home to their shared apartment after successfully robbing the Red Rock Casino’s cashier cage and spread the money across their dining table, counting out $73,810.

Josiah Rogers said he took his $30,000 cut and moved back to their hometown of Columbus, Ohio, a week after the robbery.

Before he took the stand, the government’s evidence had been mostly focused on the third robbery in February 2022, when Caleb Rogers was arrested outside the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.

Prosecutors said Caleb Rogers stormed that casino’s sportsbook, shoved a 63-year-old cashier out of his way, and threatened to use a gun while he shoveled $79,000 into a drawstring bag hidden inside his jacket. Within minutes, prosecutors said, the robber was tackled by a group of security guards outside the casino and detained after a brief struggle.

Caleb Rogers was wearing a wig and carrying a loaded revolver issued by the police department at the time of his arrest, prosecutors said.

Police lapel video played during the trial showed Caleb Rogers identifying himself as a police officer as he was folded into the back of a patrol car outside the casino.

A spokesperson for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said Caleb Rogers has been on unpaid leave without police powers since his arrest, pending the outcome of the case.

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