Criminal Justice

Las Vegas Municipal Judge's Son Is Charged in 'Brazen' Heist of $1.5M in Bellagio Casino Chips

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The son of a Las Vegas municipal judge has been arrested in a $1.5 million armed robbery of high-value chips from the Bellagio casino on Dec. 14.

Observers had doubted the thief could negotiate the chips, which ranged from $100 to $25,000, without giving himself away. And the Las Vegas Review-Journal, relying in part on unidentified law enforcement sources, reports that Anthony Michael Carleo, 29, was arrested last night after he allegedly tried to sell high-value chips from the heist to undercover officers.

He is the son of Judge George Assad, in whose Las Vegas home Carleo was reportedly living at the time of the heist. Carleo was a guest at the Bellagio at the time of his arrest and both the casino’s hotel and Assad’s home were searched, pursuant to warrants, the Review-Journal says.

Carleo has been charged with robbery with the use of a deadly weapon; burglary with use of a deadly weapon; and trafficking in a controlled substance, reports the Las Vegas Sun.

The newspaper says the drug charge resulted when authorities investigating the robbery discovered narcotics.

Described by both the Review-Journal and the Sun as “brazen,” the early morning heist was pulled off at gunpoint on Dec. 14 by a man who arrived at the casino on a motorcycle, walked up to a craps table, showed a pistol and demanded money.

In a post in National Public Radio’s blog, the Two-Way, includes a link to a video clip of the suspect, wearing dark clothing and a full-face motorcycle mask, running through the casino lobby after the robbery. Security officers at the Bellagio didn’t attempt to stop him because they were concerned that a potential shootout could harm patrons.

He apparently made his getaway on the same motorcycle on which he arrived. It appears that the suspect couldn’t be identified from the video footage because his face was largely concealed by the motorcycle helmet.

The Review-Journal says Carleo is a former real-estate broker and businessman in Colorado who went through a bankruptcy in 2009 and subsequently moved to Las Vegas.

It was unable to reach either Carleo or Assad and the other articles also do not include any comment from the two.

Following the Dec. 14 robbery, the owner of the Bellagio said it was discontinuing the $25,000 chips and gave gamblers an April 22 deadline to redeem them. After that date, the chips will be worthless, the Sun reports.

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