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Casino customer tackles robbery suspect

By Jacqueline Gedeon, KTVM Butte Reporter, jgedeon@ktvm.com
Published On: May 19 2014 06:10:37 PM MDT
Updated On: May 19 2014 11:36:36 PM MDT
BUTTE, Mont. -

A Butte casino attendant came face to face with a gun before a bystander stepped in and tackled an alleged robber. Police said they are still looking for a second suspect.

According to Butte-Silver Bow Undersheriff George Skuletich, the attempted robbery happened Friday night at the Lucky You Casino on the 3100-block of Busch Street.

Two alert customers noticed what was going on and chased after the suspects, pinning 33-year-old Sylvia Llamas to the ground. A second person, wearing a green hoodie, escaped.

Friday night, just before 11, casino attendant Carlyne Johnson had just returned from taking out the trash to find two unfamiliar people standing in the dasino

"I asked if she wanted anything to drink and she turned around and was in a full face mask and right there I was getting robbed," said Johnson.

Johnson said she demanded the that alleged robber take off the mask or leave.

"At that point she had raised her gun up to me and asked for the money," said Johnson.

Johnson said she gave the woman what she demanded -- money, from her apron and safe.

"She was telling me to back up and she was going to lock me in the back room," said Johnson.

While this was all happening, two customers were playing at these machines they saw the suspect behind the counter with Johnson, got suspicious and yelled at the suspect.

"And he shouted "Hey!' And they turned and ran out the door," said Johnson.

Johnson called the police while one of the customers bolted out the door after the two people who fled.

"I looked out and I saw him drag her back into the casino, so I told the cops to please hurry," said Johnson.

The two customers pinned Llamas to the ground. Johnson said she wrestled the gun from Llamas' hand.

Skuletich confirmed the story, but cautioned anyone against chasing after any suspected robber.

"We recommend clerks and everyone hand the money over because it is replaceable, and with the video systems that are in places now we can hopefully identify a person," said Skuletich.

Johnson said even though police don't recommend this type of action, she feels blessed she wasn't alone Friday night.

"I will never forget," Johnson said about the customer. "He's amazing; he didn't even hesitate, he just did what felt right to him, so he's my hero."

Police are reviewing security footage and could release more details on the possible second suspect once they know more.