Gordon Dickie, director of security and surveillance at Harrah's Hotel and Casino, slides a video cassette into a VCR in his windowless basement office. When he presses "Play," the grainy black-and- white surveillance film of the casino's first and only armed robbery pops up on screen, with the date (4/24/94) and time (2:45 AM) noted in the corner.
The silent story of the robbery unfolds in a leap from camera to camera, each panning, tilting, and zooming to catch the action. The clip opens with a shot of the glass doors of a ground-level rear entrance, empty but brightly lit. Suddenly a dark minivan pulls up to the curb. Four young black men (later identified by police as members of the Las Vegas Crips) leap from the van. Seconds after the four men disappear from the camera's eye, the screen is filled with a shot of patrons running out the same doors.
The picture switches to inside the casino, where the four men run down aisles of slot machines and jump over the counter of the cage, where each day's working cash is kept. In the lower corner of one camera's view, one of the men waves a Colt .45 pistol, warning people away. Inside the cage, the robbery (more than $100,000 was taken) is performed over and over again, from every conceivable angle.
The camera pans to the man with the gun, who grabs a hostage. The image is fuzzy and dark, but clear enough to show the hostage being dragged along the floor until he is finally let go.