LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Las Vegas police officer was sentenced Tuesday to 12 years in federal prison for stealing nearly $165,000 in a trio of casino heists, including one in which he was found guilty of brandishing a department-issued weapon.
Caleb Rogers, who has been on unpaid suspension in a solo jail cell since his arrest nearly 20 months ago, apologized before sentencing. His mother, Crystal Rogers, of Toledo, Ohio, told the judge that she was “not pleased” but that her son had full family support.
Rogers, 35, brandished the gun during his arrest in February 2022 following a brief struggle with casino security officers in a parking lot not far from the Las Vegas Strip. One guard was so shaken he said he left the job shortly afterward and moved to a new line of work altogether.
Caleb Rogers, wearing eyeglasses, a beard and yellow jail clothing, with his dark hair pulled back in a short ponytail, said all he does while sitting alone in jail is think about “the effect that this has had on my family and everyone.”
“I do understand my mistakes,” he said, “and I pray for a chance at redemption.”
U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon said he understood that Rogers struggled with a gambling addiction and financial troubles and credited him with service to the community.
Richard Pocker, Rogers’ lawyer, sought leniency, saying his client has a young son, helped with a family ministry, assisted homeless people and was an emergency medical technician before becoming a Las Vegas police officer in 2015.
“It’s ironic that his status as a police officer should be a reason to punish him more harshly,” Pocker said.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said Tuesday that Rogers’ job status will be determined by an internal investigation that has not yet been completed.
The judge sentenced Rogers to less than a possible maximum of 22 years. He imposed an additional three years of supervised release after prison and ordered Rogers to pay $85,310 in restitution to the casinos.
“You served your community well for a time,” Gordon told Rogers. “Unfortunately, it appears your demons got the better of you.” Instead of seeking help, the judge said, Rogers committed armed robbery.
Rogers was a patrol officer at the time of the heists, which targeted casinos off the Strip beginning in November 2021. A jury found Rogers guilty in July of all three robberies and an enhancement for brandishing the weapon, which added a mandatory seven years to Rogers’ sentence.
Pocker said they will appeal the convictions and sentence to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. He called the U.S. government’s evidence linking his client to two of the robberies weak.
Throughout Rogers’ weeklong trial, prosecutors portrayed him as a gambling addict who grew increasingly desperate under a crush of debt. They say he recruited his younger brother to help him rob a casino in Summerlin, an affluent community in northwest Las Vegas.
Josiah Rogers testified under immunity from prosecution, recounting details of robbing a cashier at the Red Rock Casino in November 2021.
He said the brothers rehearsed for the pre-dawn robbery, scoped out the property and used code words in an encrypted messaging app to communicate their plans. Afterward, Josiah Rogers said, they spread the money across the dining table in their shared apartment, counting out $73,810.
Josiah Rogers said he kept $30,000 and moved the following week back to their hometown of Columbus, Ohio.
Caleb Rogers also was convicted of also robbing the Aliante Casino Hotel Spa in North Las Vegas of about $11,500 on Jan. 6, 2022.
About seven weeks later, prosecutors said Rogers stormed the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino’s sportsbook, shoved a cashier in her 60s out of his way and threatened to use a gun while he shoveled $79,000 into a drawstring bag hidden inside his jacket.
Within minutes, Rogers was tackled by a group of security guards outside the casino, sending a wig he’d been wearing flying off his head. The money in his jacket was recovered.
Associated Press writer Ken Ritter contributed to this report.