Judge's son arrested in Bellagio chip heist


Dormant account
Mar 23, 2007
Los Angeles
Feb 3, 5:28 PM EST

Vegas judge's son arrested in $1.5M Bellagio heist

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The security footage of the man in a motorcycle helmet and a gun, dashing into a posh Las Vegas Strip casino and making off with $1.5 million in chips, went viral on the Internet. Now, after nearly two months, police believe they have their man - a former real estate broker who went bankrupt in 2009 and is related to a Sin City judge.

Anthony M. Carleo, 29, was arrested early Thursday after police accused him of being the bandit who grabbed the chips in the Dec. 14 brazen heist at the Bellagio hotel-casino. Police had said they believed the same man robbed the Suncoast casino in northwest Las Vegas early Dec. 8.

"It goes without saying that as a father, I am devastated and heartbroken to see my son arrested under these circumstances, as is the rest of his family," Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge George Assad said in a statement released through a publicist.

Assad said that as a working judge, he couldn't comment about "any pending legal matter as it relates to anyone, including my son."

"I can say that as a prosecutor and a judge, I have always felt people who break the law need to be held accountable," he said.

Carleo was arrested at the Bellagio as part of an undercover police investigation, a person familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press. The person declined to be named because he was not authorized to publicly provide details about the case.

Police spokesman Bill Cassell refused to give further details on the arrest besides saying it happened in Las Vegas.

It was not immediately clear whether Carleo had a lawyer.

Court records showed Carleo filed for bankruptcy in Colorado in May 2009, listing among his personal belongings a .40-caliber Taurus pistol.

The bankruptcy filing said Carleo received at least $19,000 from his father over a three year period, but owed nearly $188,000 in various debts. The case was closed seven months later, and a lawyer from the firm that represented him then said Thursday that they are not representing him now.

Voting records in 2010 showed that Carleo lived at the same address with as his father in Las Vegas.

Jail records showed Carleo in custody under another name, Anthony M. Assad. The name was also used in Carleo's bankruptcy filing.

Bail was set at $15,000 for Carleo on felony armed robbery and burglary charges. Court spokeswoman Mary Ann Price said he would make an initial appearance in court Monday.

Carleo will not be required to appear when a judge reviews the charges on Friday, Price said.

Police said Carleo was also suspected of trafficking a controlled substance, but booking records did not reflect that charge.

Stealing $1.5 million in chips isn't like stealing $1.5 million, experts and police pointed out at the time of the robbery. Chips are unique to casino properties and are generally not interchangeable, although state regulations let casino companies redeem sister properties' chips with some restrictions.

After the heist, Bellagio announced plans to discontinue the casino's $25,000 chips in April, setting a deadline for the thief to try to use them. Police did not say Thursday whether Carleo tried to redeem the chips - which ranged from $100 to $25,000 - before he was arrested.

Bellagio officials wouldn't say whether MGM Resorts International properties, which include the posh hotel-casino on the Strip known for its fountains, are among Las Vegas casinos that embed radio frequency devices inside the tokens.

Police say it took less than three minutes for the robber to pull off the heist.

He entered a casino entrance from Flamingo Road, strode fewer than 500 feet to a craps table, brandished the handgun at the 10 to 12 patrons and three or four dealers with chips piled on the green felt, scooped up the loot and ran.

Casino security officers didn't confront the robber, but a ceiling security video camera followed his path out the door. Police say a 911 call was placed to police while the man was still in the casino.

He was gone by the time police arrived.
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Winter is Coming
May 1, 2009
He isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but he has MASSIVE balls! :eek2:
I love that he went right back and played the high roller and STILL didn't get nabbed. If you ask me he could easily have gotten away with this, since it seems apparent there is no way to track these chips. His mistake was not being more careful in selling the chips off.

Police say Bellagio bandit returned after heist
By OSKAR GARCIA, Associated Press Oskar Garcia, Associated Press
– 1 hr 1 min ago
LAS VEGAS – The bankrupt son of a Las Vegas judge followed a crude holdup at a posh casino by racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in gambling losses and spending a week like a high roller, but got caught after trying to hawk his stolen chips online to poker players, police said Thursday.

An arrest report for the helmeted bandit, who ran out of the Bellagio hotel-casino with $1.5 million in chips during a gunpoint heist Dec. 14, said Anthony M. Carleo lost about $105,000 at the resort over the next month — including $73,000 on New Year's Eve. He stayed at least one week at the resort in late January, enjoying meals, drinks and rooms furnished by the casino.

"He likes to gamble," Las Vegas police Lt. Ray Steiber said as he described for reporters how Carleo, 29, was nabbed late Wednesday on the same casino floor from where the chips came.

Carleo wasn't armed and offered no resistance when he was taken into custody.

Police recovered $900,000 in chips of different types — the ones stolen ranged from $100 to $25,000 — and can account for $1.2 million, Steiber said.

He said police were still looking for the black motorcycle they say Carleo used to make his pre-dawn getaway. Steiber wouldn't say whether police still believe the same man robbed the Suncoast casino in northwest Las Vegas at gunpoint early Dec. 8, although police previously said the same person was suspected in both heists.

According to the arrest report, Carleo's downfall came after he tried to broker sales of the highest value chips of $25,000 through a well-known Web forum for poker players.

Using the handle "Oceanspray 25" — a reference to the beverage company because $25,000 chips are known to gamblers as "cranberries" for their color — Carleo traded e-mails and phone calls with another user who eventually led him to police, the arrest report said.

It said Carleo sold five $25,000 chips to an undercover officer, and told him he had robbed the Bellagio.


Dormant account
Mar 23, 2007
Los Angeles
Looks like this went down at TwoPlusTwo.com. You can see Cranberry's vB ID here:

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You can see he immediately starting posting in one of the Bellagio theft threads, and started 'phishing' for anyone who he might try to sell some chips to. He did not have enough posts to PM anyone, so he started requesting they PM him with email addresses to discuss 'something amusing'.

He eventually got forum user Provotrout to contact him, and then sent him pics of some of the chips he 'amusingly' had for sale.


It was also discussed that he had also tried to sell some of the chips on Craigslist.

CRAIGSLIST?!!! hahaha too funny... smart criminals...

So if you're provotrout, do you risk buying stolen chips and trying to further burn Bellagio, or do you turn the thief in and maybe the Bellagio shows their appreciation for your honesty? Yeah... not too tough a call.

I think one of the more amusing aspects of this story is that he is in the middle of a bunch of poker players/gamblers who are discussing the BEST ways 'the thief' might be able to launder those chips. Instead of trying any of those ideas, he opts for trying to sell them through PM and Craigslist.

Criminals require no IQ checks.

- Keith