79-year-old woman robbed after leaving Seminole Classic Casino, police say

Detectives believe suspects followed woman to Plantation home

From left: Brandon Balom, Christopher Thomas and Camron Hamilton.
From left: Brandon Balom, Christopher Thomas and Camron Hamilton.

PLANTATION, Fla. – A 79-year-old woman was robbed this week after playing bingo at the Seminole Classic Casino in Hollywood, police said.

According to a probable cause affidavit, the victim left the casino Sunday and noticed that a white, four-door car appeared to be following her home.

Plantation police said she parked her car in front of her home and got out of her car with her purse and bingo bag around her shoulder.

Police said she was immediately grabbed from behind by a man who put his arm around her head and snatched a gold chain from her neck.

The woman told police the man forcefully took her purse and bingo bag, causing minor injuries to her right eye.

"As soon as I get out of my car, this humongous guy grabs me like this and I said, 'Oh, my God,'" the victim said. "He didn't say a word and I didn't say a word. He ripped my necklace off my neck and where my purse was and pulled that and broke that."

The woman said she screamed and believed there were others because she heard the man say something to someone who was behind him. She said she didn't turn around because she was in fear for her life.

Police said the men left with the woman's belongings, which included $400 in cash.

Officers spotted a white 1996 Mercury Grand Marquis shortly after the robbery and detained four people inside the car: Brandon Balom, 24, who was driving the car, Christopher Thomas, 22, who was the front-seat passenger, Camron Hamilton, 18, who was in the back seat and a juvenile who was in the back seat.

The woman was brought to where the men were pulled over and identified Thomas as the person who grabbed her from behind.

Police said her purse and other belongings were found inside the car. Hamilton also spontaneously said, "I have a gun," which was found loaded inside his waistband, police said.

According the report, several Seminole parking passes with Balom's name on them were found on the dashboard, leading police to believe that the victim was followed from the casino.

Seminole Tribe spokesman Gary Bitner told Local10.com that the casino's security officers and Seminole police are cooperating with Plantation police's investigation and will turn over any surveillance video that might have captured the suspects.

The men were arrested on charges of robbery, grand theft and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Thomas faces additional charges of battery on a person over 65 and violation of probation. Hamilton faces an additional charge of unlawfully carrying a concealed firearm. 


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