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Bellagio Chip Bandit Arrested After Sending Private Messages on TwoPlusTwo Forum

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Feb/03/2011
Bellagio Chip Bandit

The son of Las Vegas Municipal Judge Anthony M. Assad, Anthony M. Carleo, was arrested during the early morning hours of Thursday in connection with the brazen casino chips robbery at the posh Bellagio Hotel on December 14.   Property surveillance picked up the robbery committed by an individual dressed in a motorcycle outfit and helmet.  The suspect escaped approximately 3 minutes later on a motorcycle. 

Carleo is alleged to have stolen $1.5 million in chips as a means to cover significant gambling debts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Reports suggest he spent a week living above his means as a high roller.  The suspect also declared bankruptcy.  Authorities claim that Carleo had been a guest at the hotel that night and returned after committing the robbery. 

"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 as part of an undercover sting.  Authorities met with Carleo who tried to sell them the stolen chips.  He initially private messaged other members of the popular poker forum TwoPlusTwo.com using the handle "Oceanspray 25"  in an effort to sell the stolen chips.  

The Associated Press reports that Carleo traded e-mails and phone calls with another user who eventually led him to police, the arrest report said.

His father issued a statement later in the day saying he and his family were "devastated and heartbroken to see my son arrested under these circumstances."

Assad was not permitted to comment further on "any pending legal matter as it relates to anyone, including my son” due to his role as a judge.

"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 added.

Authorities were quick to point out that the chips had little real monetary value as they were unique to the Bellagio property and could only be used there.

Law enforcement also revealed that a Salvation Army bell ringer had attempted to cash in one of the $25,000 chips shortly after the robbery.  He claimed an “unidentified” man placed the chips in his pocket.  The bell ringer was later released.

- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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