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As Crazy as a Movie Scene, Heather Tallchief and Robert Solis Pulled off One of the Biggest Las Vegas Heists Ever

In 1993, 21-year-old former nursing assistant Heather Tallchief drove off in an armored car with $3 million

By Jennifer GeerPublished 10 months ago 4 min read
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Photo by Anthony Fomin on Unsplash

The story begins on a fall morning in 1993 when a Las Vegas armored van pulled up in front of the Circus Circus Casino. It was 8 AM, and the truck was full of cash for the day to fill the casino ATMs across the Vegas strip.

The driver of the van was a fairly new employee, Heather Tallchief. The tall, beautiful woman had only worked for the armored truck company for about two months. Earlier that year, 21-year-old Heather Tallchief had been working as a nursing assistant at a San Francisco AIDS hospice.

But now, she was a driver of an armored van for the Vegas strip, and Circus Circus was her first stop. In the morning, the van was full of money ready to be delivered. At Circus Circus, Courier Scott Stewart and his partner left the back of the truck to deliver a bag of money to the casino.

Heather’s job as the driver was to return to pick the men up 20 minutes later. But, 20 minutes came and went with no sign of Heather and no sign of the van.

At first, the men were concerned for their coworker. Had she gotten lost or been in an accident? Was she a victim of a crime? But as time went on and the FBI got involved, it soon became clear. Heather had taken off with the van containing $3 million.

Heather, the truck, and the cash had vanished without a trace.

The first clues found

A search through Heather’s apartment showed it was cleared of her clothing, and it looked as though she’d left quickly.

There were no signs of the armored truck, but the first clue was a limousine driver who reported driving an odd couple from the Denver airport. It was a man accompanied by an elderly woman.

The elderly woman was in a wheelchair but suddenly got up out of her chair and walked off. Which struck the limo driver as strange enough for him to remember the couple later. By the time authorities realized the pair had traveled to Denver, Colorado, they were long gone.

Heather wasn’t alone

Clues left behind led authorities to discover Heather Tallchief was not working by herself. Her boyfriend, convicted murderer Robert Solis, was either behind the scheme or an accomplice. Robert had gone to prison for shooting and killing an armored car guard in 1969 in a robbery that had gone bad.

Heather met Robert in San Francisco a few months before she drove off with the money. They began dating and moved to Las Vegas, where Heather started work as the driver of an armored van.

No sign of Heather for years

And that was the end of it for years. Heather’s family was left to wonder why she had committed this crime and ran off without a trace.

Heather’s father, Fred Tallchief told Dateline in an interview, “It’s the loss of a child, whether she’s dead or she comes back and has to go to jail for 30 years. It was the loss of a child for me.”

Fred was afraid for Heather and afraid Robert had used her for the money and then killed her, “It’s a 21-year-old kid with money, with a convicted murderer. My worst thought was he dumped her in the ocean for $3 million.”

Heather reappeared in 2005

The story ended there, with Heather and Robert disappearing with the money. But in 2005, Heather sat down with Keith Morrison from Dateline at a meeting arranged by Heather’s attorney to allow her to tell her story.

And after that, she turned herself into the authorities.

Heather’s story was that she had been brainwashed by Robert and committed the crime out of fear for her life. She said she fell in love with him at first, “I was in awe, if you will of him. And I loved being a part of this belief system and this world.”

Life on the run

But after the crime, she began to see Robert differently. On the plane to Denver, Heather said she had thought to herself, “Oh my god, this guy’s a maniac. Nuts. He’s evil.”

After a few years on the run, Heather became pregnant with Robert’s child.

She told Dateline she felt afraid and trapped, “I almost felt like I don’t feel like I want to live anymore. I got to get away, ’cause I wanted to have the opportunity to at least have this child.”

So she left with her baby, leaving all of the fortune behind her, and only taking with her pocket money and some jewelry. For 10 years, she lived on the lam with her son. Robert never came after her and she never saw him again.

And then, in 2005, after 10 years of hiding from authorities with her son, Heather decided she was tired of running and wanted a better life for her child.

When Morrison asked why she was turning herself in now, Heather told him, “Well, it’s the right thing to do. I also have a little boy I’m thinking about. I’m doing this for him. I feel that by turning myself in and surrendering, I can give him a better life, one that he deserves.”

Heather was sentenced to 63 months in prison, served her time, and was released. Robert Solis was never found and remains at large.

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Sources: NBC News Dateline, Unsolved Mysteries, Nevada Justice Department Press Release

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This story was originally published on Medium.

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About the Creator

Jennifer Geer

Writing my life away. Runner/mama/wife/eternal optimist/coffee enthusiast. Masters degree in Psychology.

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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