- Former Nevada police officer Caleb Rogers is accused of robbing a Las Vegas casino of more than $73,000 in November 2021.
- Rogers’ brother testified at his trial that, given the details of the planned robbery, his brother claimed he initially thought the plan was a prank.
- Caleb Rogers could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of brandishing a department-issued weapon during one of the robberies.
At first, Josiah Rogers said he thought his older brother, a Las Vegas police officer, was joking when he came up with the idea to rob the casino. But then the conversation took a turn, and soon they were hatching a plan for a heist in November 2021.
Rogers revealed details of the elaborate robbery plan when he took the stand Thursday and testified for several hours against his brother, Caleb Rogers, who is scheduled to be charged this week at the casino in late 2021 and early 2022. All three robberies were under trial. The jury began deliberations Thursday afternoon and will resume Friday morning.
Caleb Rogers, 35, could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of brandishing a department-issued weapon in one of the robberies. He was employed as an active duty patrol officer at the time of the robbery.
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Josiah Rogers said his role in the scheme was the getaway driver. To prepare, he said, he drove to the Red Rock Casino off the Las Vegas Strip to find the best escape route. They also bought a gray cover for his pickup truck and cut holes so he could see out the windows while driving.
The judge was mesmerized by his testimony, jotting down notes and darting his eyes back and forth between the brothers in the courtroom. But Caleb Rogers avoided eye contact with his brother, who had been granted immunity from prosecution for revealing details about his robbery.
“Caleb told me that this was going to be his operation and while it was happening, I had to do everything he said because he had the knowledge and the skills,” Josiah Rogers said of his law enforcement career. Referring to the experience of the brother said.
The plan for the robbery, Josiah Rogers told the jury, was to leave the apartment where they lived together in his pickup, then quickly pull over and disguise the truck using the cover of the vehicle. Josiah Rogers said he practiced placing and removing covers on the days of the robbery.
On the way back from the casino, they would stop on a dark stretch of highway, rip off the cover, and head back home before someone caught sight of them.
When the day of the robbery came, Josiah Rogers said he parked near a loading dock outside the casino as they practiced, and his brother crawled out the passenger-side window, minutes away. He later returned with a trash bag full of cash.
At home, the brothers displayed their earnings on the dining room table, which totaled more than $73,000, according to prosecutors. Josiah Rogers said he took his $30,000 cut and drove back to his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, a week after the robbery.
For Caleb Rogers, prosecutors said, it was the first in a string of robberies targeting casinos off the Strip that would end only after he was arrested during an armed robbery at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in February 2022.
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During the trial, which began Monday, jurors also heard from casino employees who described how they were troubled by their encounters with the robber. There was a security guard who said he couldn’t stop thinking about how he might not get home to his family as he wrestled with the suspect for his weapon outside the Rio Hotel Casino. And then there was the 63-year-old cashier who said she still looks over her shoulder every time she handles cash at work.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Keibler said in his closing arguments Thursday that evidence in all three robberies points to the same man: Caleb Rogers.
Brian Walter, the lead detective on the case, said that in each robbery, the thief used the same “unique” method — the way he dressed to hide his identity, the way he put his hands in his jacket pockets. kept Unless he has the cash to “avoid disseminating forensic evidence.” Then, Walter said, the robber would open his jacket and put the money inside a bag hidden under his clothes.
The way he ran with a limp in his left leg also left him, Walter said. Internally at the police department, they dubbed the case a “kangaroo bandit” investigation for the suspect’s trickery.
But Richard Poker, the officer’s attorney, called the government’s evidence easy for the police department, which had already been working for months when Rogers was arrested, to no avail in solving the first two robberies.
“They put in a lot of effort here,” Poker said in his closing argument. “It’s just a coincidence.”
When Josiah Rogers learned his brother had been caught, he said he burned the last of his money from their robbery together.
“All kinds of reality came crashing down,” he said.
Josiah Rogers said the two brothers had been close all their lives. They shared a room throughout childhood and lived together twice in adulthood, in South Carolina and Las Vegas. But in the courtroom Thursday, as he left the stand and walked past his brother, who has been in custody since his arrest, Josiah Rogers looked straight ahead.
Caleb Rogers took a quick look, and then his younger brother disappeared behind the courtroom doors.