Armed robbers hit Bakersfield casino

Detectives were reviewing surveillance footage and Golden West Casino management was preparing a statement regarding a robbery in which men armed with assault rifles and handguns stormed the operation early Thursday morning and got away with an undisclosed amount of money.

Witnesses reported that four men with some sort of clothing partially covering their faces entered the casino, 1001 S. Union Ave., at about 4 a.m., sheriff’s Senior Deputy Vincent Martinez said. Two of the men brandished assault rifles and one of the others was carrying a handgun.

They ordered everyone to the ground, and one of the men entered the cashier cage and took and undisclosed amount of cash, Martinez said. The men left in a red car similar to a Pontiac Grand Am.

The car was found abandoned with the engine running a few blocks from the casino in the area of Madison Street and Planz Road, Martinez said. It was reported stolen out of the Los Angeles area.

Martinez said he doesn’t believe any shots were fired or that anyone was injured. More than 20 patrons were in the casino at the time.

Several of them wanted to get back to their card games after the robbery, even as detectives were interviewing witnesses, Martinez said.

Casino security would not allow a reporter to talk to patrons or go inside on Thursday afternoon.

Security officer Robert Shaw said casino manager Randy Watkins would issue a statement later. Shaw said security officers were at the casino during the robbery, but he declined further comment.

The casino opened in November 1995 and now has 30 gaming tables and more than 200 employees, according to The casino is open every day, 24 hours a day.

Detectives were watching surveillance footage from the casino, Martinez said. There was a lot of footage taken from many different angles, he said.

The sheriff’s gang unit was assisting in the investigation, but as of late Thursday afternoon it had not been determined that gang members committed the crime, Martinez said.

An investigation is ongoing.

„It’s kind of an uncommon thing for Bakersfield, that’s for sure,“ Martinez said.