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Bellagio robbery suspect faces felony counts

Anthony Carleo, 29, the son of a local judge, is accused of stealing $1.5 million in gambling chips and selling some to an undercover police officer.

April 08, 2011|By Ashley Powers, Los Angeles Times
  • Anthony Carleo, 29, waits in court Friday. He's accused of stealing $1.5 million in gambling chips from the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas.
Anthony Carleo, 29, waits in court Friday. He's accused of stealing… (Julie Jacobson, Associated…)

Reporting from Las Vegas — The man suspected of robbing the Bellagio casino of $1.5 million in gambling chips and later selling some to an undercover police officer will stand trial on multiple felony counts, a Las Vegas justice of the peace ruled Friday.

Anthony Carleo, 29, is accused of being the helmet-wearing "Biker Bandit" who stormed into the casino in December, brandished a gun, demanded chips from a craps dealer and zoomed off on a black motorcycle.

In the weeks that followed, authorities said, Carleo returned to the Bellagio and gambled away so much money that the casino, as it typically does with high-rollers, gave him a free hotel room. For much of that time, investigators were tracking him.

Eventually, Carleo sold some of the highest-value tokens — $25,000 chips known as "cranberries" — to an undercover officer at cut-rate prices, authorities said. When the officer suggested Carleo join his crew and rip off the Bellagio, Carleo laughed and said "I already did," the officer testified at an earlier hearing.

The son of local Municipal Court Judge George Assad, Carleo allegedly complained to the officer that his father had whittled down his $1,000 monthly allowance after they argued over his betting and drug use.

Carleo was arrested in February at the Bellagio. Stony-faced and shackled during Friday's proceedings, he is being held at the county jail on $1-million bail.

ashley.powers@latimes.com

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