22 years later, a casino heist remains a mystery

LAS VEGAS -- The stories live on about his heist, but to this day, no one knows what happened to Bill Brennan in an unsolved Las Vegas casino mystery.

This week, 22 years ago, the Stardust Hotel and Casino employee walked out of the casino with half-a-million dollars. He hasn't been seen since.

The story is as legendary on the Strip, as the legendary casino that was taken for $500,000.

This very week in 1992, Bill Brennan left his job at the Stardust as he did for four years. Only this time, he stole from the Stardust in a big way and vanished without a trace.

In most casino capers, the culprits are caught. They typically only get away in the movies.

But in the early morning hours of Sept. 22, 1992, Stardust sports book cashier Bill Brennan didn't use a gun or threaten anyone.

"It appears he left the casino without being filmed by the surveillance cameras," Metro Police Lt. Joe Greenwood said in an interview in 1992.

Brennan just walked away from the Stardust with $507,361 in cash and chips.

"They never found a trace of Bill Brennan anywhere. Never a trace," former sports book manager at the Stardust Richard Saber said.

Saber is now a race and sports writer for "Gaming Today," but he was the sports book manager at the Stardust, and knew Brennan.

"He was basically a total complete loner. He lived alone with his cat. He loved his cat in his apartment," Saber said.

Police rushed to Brennan's nearby apartment, and he and the cat were long gone.

"Just a nice kid, that's all," apartment manager Judy Pope said during a 1992 interview.

That ‘nice kid' eventually changed for the worse at work, hanging out with a big bettor.

"This was a bettor that we didn't trust. He was a shady character. He disappeared from the face of the earth too just a few months after Bill had gone," Saber said.

Scotty Schettler was a well-known face in the Stardust sports book. He hired Brennan during the boom years.

Brennan went from showing promise to being a problem.

"He got influenced by outside sources, and his attitude changed, and he wanted desperately to be a supervisor, but with his change in attitude, I couldn't put him in charge of all that money," Schettler said.

But Schettler never imagined Brennan would be capable of such a crime.

"I don't think anything good happened to him," Schettler said.

"He had all these books, 'How to Change Your Identity.' I'm saying, 'man, that Bill really has gone off the edge.'" Saber said.

Could Brennan have fled the country and started a new life of riches?

"It's possible," Saber said.

Or did he have a partner who killed him off?

"I don't think Bill Brennan ever left this city," Saber said.

"Would this be possible to do today? Probably not," Metro Police Sgt. John Sheahan said.

Sgt. Sheahan says with today's security, it would be much harder to pull off a similar heist.

"Nowadays, we're able to track someone with their cell phone down to within feet of where they're standing," Sheahan said.

If new leads come in, he says this cold case could be reopened, if anyone can help solve this mystifying crime.

A lot of Stardust employees theorized that unidentified big-time gambler may have been Brennan's partner in crime.

Authorities said they never saw any sign of Brennan show up in his native Pennsylvania.

And being on the FBI's most wanted fugitive list, or America's most wanted, never turned up leads either.

But 22 years later, perhaps, someone knows something. Crime Stoppers is taking tips at 702-385-5555.


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