'Robin Hood' offers $50,000 bounty in Bellagio chip robbery

He makes his living taking money from casinos.

But this time, he's trying to get their money back.

"Robin Hood 702," an anonymous professional gambler who forged his identity by winning money for the less fortunate, has offered a $50,000 reward for tips leading to the capture of the Bellagio bandit who made off with $1.5 million in gambling chips in a brazen casino robbery last week.

"I heard about this on the news, and I said, 'I gotta help Vegas,' " Robin Hood said. "This isn't just about the Bellagio, this is about Vegas, my favorite city in the world."

Robin Hood said he prefers to remain anonymous because he doesn't want publicity for himself. He doesn't live in Las Vegas but visits often.

He said he has been winning money -- and then giving that money away -- for many years.

About three years ago, Fox News reported on his exploits. Now a movie about his life is in development, he said, and he has been in talks with producers who want to make a reality show about him.

He runs a website, www.robinhood 702.com, which allows people to post videos and stories about why they should be considered for help.

Robin Hood will pay for a family's trip to Las Vegas, where family members will get a chance to watch him play high-stakes blackjack and try to win the money they need to pay off their debts.

He said that even if he loses, he'll pay at least half their debt.

"I like to keep the focus on the deeds I do, not on who I am," he said. "I tell people all the time that I don't want to be famous. I just want to do famous things."

To be eligible for the Bellagio reward, a tip must lead to the arrest and conviction of the bandit, Robin Hood said, and the gambling chips must be returned.

The tips can go through his e-mail -- listed on his website -- or through the police.

He said he is not looking for glory, nor does he consider Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie a modern-day Sheriff of Nottingham.

To this Robin Hood, cops are cool.

"It doesn't matter who catches him," he said. "I will make sure the money gets to the right person. That never has been a problem with me."

Robin Hood said he got the idea last week. Because police said the suspect also struck at the Suncoast, Robin Hood said he is nervous about staying on the Strip.

"I was staying at the Golden Nugget, Steve Wynn's first joint before Bellagio," he said. "It just seemed to make sense."

His confidants, "Lady Greice" and "Little John," told him he should try to help, he said, and a bounty seemed a natural choice.

Police had no new information on the case Wednesday.

Police said they appreciate Robin Hood's spirit, but they ask the public to leave any tips through CrimeStoppers (385-5555), if possible.

Aside from his gambling exploits, Robin Hood makes frequent donations to the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, where he sponsored Thanksgiving dinner and will do the same at Christmas.

He said his goal is to inspire others to give back to a community that has been hard hit by the recession.

"It would be great if we all could become Robin Hoods," he said.

Contact reporter Mike Blasky at mblasky@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283.