Posted 2/4/11 : BELLAGIO BURGLAR TRIED TO SELL CHIPS ON THE INTERNET
Audacious robbery….awful follow up.
The US media was having a field day with the December 14th $1.5 million Bellagio chip theft story this week as the police arrest report on Anthony M. Carleo (29) was made public.
The extensive police report showcases an audacious but unsophisticated criminal who rode up to the Bellagio on a motor cycle, ran in and intimidated the occupants of a baccarat table with a pistol, grabbed $1.5 million worth of chips and then ran out and rode off – all within the space of a few minutes.
Although the helmeted hold-up man was captured on CCTV security cameras, it was some weeks before he was apprehended, during which he clumsily tried to sell $25 000 chips over the internet, using a well-known online gambling message board and an internet auction site to do so.
Carleo used the twoplustwo poker message board in some of his attempts to sell off the chips, posting under the ‘handle' Oceanspray25 – an oblique reference to the gamblers' familiar term for $25 000 chips of ‘cranberries'. Oceanspray is a company that supplies beverages.
After communicating with another message board user he ended up in the hands of the police following what appears to have been a sting operation involving five of the high value chips.
While he was doing all this, Carleo had the effrontery to return to the Bellagio on several occasions and gamble as a high roller, losing around $105 000 of the casino’s own money! He stayed at least a week at the resort in late January, enjoying meals, drinks and rooms furnished by the casino, says one report from the Associated Press news agency.
Carleo, a bankrupt former estate agent and the son of a retired judge, was finally arrested almost at the scene of his original crime at the Bellagio on Wednesday. He was unarmed and did not offer any resistance. Police recovered $100 to $25 000-value chips to a total value of $900 000, the reports reveal.
Following the December 14th heist, the Bellagio announced plans to discontinue its $25,000 chips in April, putting pressure on the thief to dispose of them.
Several weeks ago the police speculated that the Bellagio robbery might have been perpetrated by the same criminal who used a similar modus operandi earlier in December in an attack on the Suncoast casino in Las Vegas, but it is not known whether this line of enquiry continues.
Bail was set at $15,000 for Carleo Wednesday on felony armed robbery and burglary charges. Court spokeswoman Mary Ann Price said he would make an initial appearance in court Monday. A judge will review the police charges on Friday.