Security guard walks off with $148,000

RENO, Nev. (AP) - A security guard who had worked at a downtown casino for less than six months apparently walked off early Friday with $148,000 she was supposed to have been taking to a vault.

Muriel Rucker, 39, was given two locked metal boxes of money to take from the main cashier cage to the vault shortly after midnight. Instead, she took the money and left the Club Cal-Neva casino. She hasn't been seen since.

''It was a breach in our procedures,'' Security Director Mike Thomas said. ''A transfer of that large an amount requires two security personnel.''

He added that the cashier should not have turned over the money to one guard and said the cashier's violation was being evaluated for disciplinary action.

Thomas said that Rucker got the money at about 12:45 a.m. and wheeled the cans out into an alley where an accomplice apparently was waiting.

After transferring the money, she went back to work and casually changed the battery in her radio to avoid raising suspicion.

''That was pretty much the last time that anybody ever saw her,'' Thomas said.

The theft was discovered about an hour later when a vault employee called the cashier to find out where the money was.

Rucker was described as being black, 5-foot-3 and 130 pounds.

Thomas said 5-3 was not an unusual height for a security person.

''We're trying to change the perception of what security is,'' he said. ''It's service, public relations, good old common sense.''

Police were interviewing witnesses on Friday, Detective Sgt. Todd Shipley said.

He added that the FBI would be invited to join the investigation, but was not expected to since the theft didn't involve a federal institution and Rucker apparently had not left the state.

Thomas said Rucker had worked at the Cal-Neva for about six months and had undergone an extensive background check before receiving a police work card and security clearance.

He said there appeared to have been an arrest in her past, but no conviction.

''It's such a sense of betrayal for all of us,'' he said. ''I've been here 18Y years, 14 as security director. We're family. It's like one has betrayed us. Somebody that you have trust in.''


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