Two heists in three days

Casinos were double-checking their surveillance and alarm systems Monday after two strikingly similar robberies in three days.

In both, an unidentified man with a pistol held up a coin redemption window and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said.

In the first, a man in a Phillies baseball cap walked up to a window at Bally’s Atlantic City about 1 a.m. Friday and presented a note and a bag to a female teller, then fled with the bag onto the Boardwalk, according to Sgt. Kevin Rehmann of the New Jersey State Police.

In the second, a man wearing a bucket hat walked up to a coin redemption window at Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino about noon Sunday and presented a bag and a note before taking the cash.

Authorities wouldn’t say how much was taken, at the request of casino officials leery of tempting other would-be robbers. In each case, it was more than $1,000, according to state police.

In both, the suspect was described as a black man between 25 and 30 years old, 180 to 200 pounds. But police said Monday they weren’t sure it was the same person in both robberies.

“Casinos have a lot of cash and a lot of chips,” said Thomas Auriemma, director of the state Division of Gaming Enforcement. “They are inherently potential targets, but they are heavily guarded.”

Security guards are stationed at casino entrances, and state police and the Atlantic City Police Department routinely maintain a presence there.

In addition, surveillance cameras monitor every inch of a casino floor. But not every surveillance camera has a videocassette recorder running on it at all times.

The heists were the first armed robberies of the year at casinos. On July 14, an unarmed man got $10,000 from the Sands Hotel Casino. No arrest has been made, but police have identified the robber and he is not believed to be connected with the weekend robberies, according to Capt. David Grusemeyer, of the state police casino unit.

Last year, there was one casino robbery.

“They come in spurts. It’s always been that way,” Grusemeyer said. “There could be a number of reasons why. Might be a new breed in town. Could be inside work. Price of dope could have gone up. You don’t know.”

State investigators met Monday with casino security officials and casinos were told to make sure their alarms and communications systems were working as designed, said Auriemma.

“Everyone’s on a heightened status right now,” Auriemma said.