Mesa – The attempted robbery of USD 2 million from a casino on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community east of Phoenix sounds more like a Hollywood movie than a real-life incident, according to newly released court documents.
Officials are charging Ismar Kabaklic, Adnan Alisic, Bakir Mujkic and Daniel Mujkic with conspiracy, interference with commerce by threats, violence and robbery, and use of a firearm in a crime of violence in the July 21 attempted robbery of Casino Arizona at Talking Stick, according to their indictment.
The indictment and an FBI search warrant affidavit outline each step of the caper as follows:
Alisic made fake manhole covers so they would be lighter and easier to lift, and then switched them with two others the day before the robbery. The men placed ladders and ropes in the manholes and parked an all-terrain vehicle in the sewer system so they could race the money from one manhole to the other.
Holes were cut in the floorboards of two vans for access to the manhole covers, a trick Steve McQueen pulled in 1972’s „The Getaway.“
The men’s gear included blue coveralls, gas masks, pepper spray, bear attack deterrent, smoke grenades, cell phones, two-way radios, a 9-millimeter handgun and a plastic pellet gun.
On the night of the attempted robbery, Bakir Mujkic and Daniel Mujkic parked a white van across the street from the casino and then got into a Lexus to watch the robbery.
After ramming their green van into an armored car, Kabaklic and Alisic jumped out and sprayed one of the guards with pepper spray. The two grabbed bags of money and fled to the first manhole cover. They set off a smoke grenade, but couldn’t raise the manhole cover.
So, the group fled.
Scottsdale police nabbed Kabaklic as he tried to get away with a bag of money. The others were tracked down and arrested later.
The heist is a perfect example of „The Ocean’s Eleven‘ syndrome,“ said Alan Zajic, a Las Vegas-based expert on casino security.
He referred to the 2001 film starring Brad Pitt and George Clooney about a group of thieves who use their special talents to pluck a fortune from the vault of a Las Vegas casino owned by a rival.
Alisic told the FBI that he and Kabaklic chose Casino Arizona because they had lost a lot of money gambling there and came up with the plan for revenge.
But unlike the happy ending for Pitt’s and Clooney’s characters, their plan fell through.
„The more elaborate the plot, the faster it can unravel,“ Zajic said.