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Metro Police arrest judge’s son in Bellagio casino robbery


Surveillance video images of an armed man who police believe robbed the Bellagio and Suncoast casinos. The Suncoast robbery is at the left and right, and Bellagio is in the center.

Updated Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011 | 7:46 p.m.

Bellagio robbery

KSNV coverage of arrest in $1.5 million robbery at the Bellagio, Feb. 3, 2011.

Click to enlarge photo

Anthony M. Carleo

Metro news conference on arrest

Robber Flees the Bellagio

Anthony Carleo, the 29-year-old judge’s son suspected of stealing $1.5 million worth of chips from the Bellagio during a brazen armed robbery, expressed his desire to “come up with some very big money” at the very casino he allegedly robbed days later, according to an arrest report released Thursday.

Metro Police said Carleo proceeded to rob the casino Dec. 14, setting in motion seven weeks of gambling, peddling chips and extended stays at the Bellagio until his arrest Wednesday night on the casino floor.

The arrest followed an extensive investigation into the headline-grabbing robbery at one of the Strip’s most recognizable casinos.

Carleo, the son of a Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge George Assad, was arrested and booked on counts of robbery with the use of a deadly weapon and burglary with use of a deadly weapon, police said. He was being held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center.

Metro Lt. Ray Steiber said during a news conference that Carleo was arrested while staying at the Bellagio after an undercover police investigation.

He said police recovered $900,000 worth of chips and have accounted for another $300,000 in chips.

The arrest report details an extensive investigation crossing state lines as several people came forward with tips implicating Carleo in the robbery. Police allege Carleo admitted to his involvement after being taken into custody.

The first of the missing high-value chips surfaced when a Salvation Army bell-ringer tried to cash in a $25,000 chip at the Bellagio on Dec. 23. After raising suspicion, the bell-ringer told security a stranger had given him the chip while he was tending a donation kettle between the MGM Grand and New York-New York.

Police questioned and released him following an interview.

The day before, a poker dealer at the Bellagio had contacted police and said he thought Carleo might be responsible, based on conversations prior to and after the robbery, authorities said.

On Dec. 11, Carleo allegedly told the dealer he needed quick money and said, “Man, how easy would it be to rob a casino?”

The dealer told police Carleo dismissed the notion that it would be difficult, allegedly saying, “All you need is a black mask and a motorcycle, and I have a motorcycle.”

The dealer told police he feared for his life after he confronted Carleo about the Bellagio robbery, at which point Carleo denied any involvement but was gambling days after admittedly being broke.

Police noted in the arrest report that they learned the following information upon beginning to investigate Carleo:

• He owned a 2007 Suzuki GSX-R motorcycle, which matched the make and model of the one used in the robbery.

• He didn’t own any weapons, but firearms consistent with the one used in the robbery were found during a firearms check where he had been residing, 1825 Corta Bella Drive, a gated community in Las Vegas. Clark County Assessor records show the home is owned by his father.

Carleo had previously lived in Pueblo, Colo., where he had a real estate broker associate’s license that expired Aug. 1, 2010. In September 2009, Carleo had filed for bankruptcy.

U.S. Treasury Records indicate he had nine cash transactions in excess of $10,000 from the day of the Bellagio robbery through Dec. 23, police said.

From the time of the robbery through Jan. 22, Carleo had lost more than $107,000 gambling at the Bellagio, despite telling police during a field interview Jan. 3 that he was a college student with no reportable income.

On his Facebook page, Carleo described himself as a biology/pre-med student at UNLV and listed the quote, “Money isn’t everything but it’s right up there next to oxygen.”

Meanwhile, according to the arrest report, police received more tips allegedly linking Carleo to the robbery, including one from a friend of his who contacted authorities after fearing Carleo might strike another casino.

The friend, who had played poker with Carleo, told police Carleo allegedly owed more than $250,000 to the mob.

The friend said Carleo confessed to him about robbing the Bellagio and on Jan. 21 said he might need to do “something drastic in the next several days” — prompting the friend to contact authorities, according to the arrest report.

Carleo had been staying at the Bellagio from at least Jan. 19 to Jan. 26, receiving complimentary rooms, meals and beverages based on his level of gambling, police noted in the report.

Bellagio’s security team had put Carleo under surveillance beginning Jan. 19 because his gambling winnings and losses seemed suspicious, according to the arrest report. Bellagio staff suspected he was cashing chips that weren’t part of his winnings.

On Jan. 28, police received another tip: A man named Matthew Brooks from Vienna, Va., had contacted Bellagio investigators because he believed he had spoken to the Bellagio robber on the Internet, the arrest report alleges.

The two struck up a conversation on the poker website on Jan. 16. According to the arrest report, Brooks began exchanging e-mails with “Oceanspray25,” who tried to sell him some of the stolen $25,000 chips.

During subsequent talks on the phone and more e-mails — from [email protected], a reference to the color of the $25,000 chips, and signed “Biker Bandit” — Brooks told Bellagio investigators the subject allegedly confessed to the Bellagio robbery.

A police check on the origin of the e-mails indicated they came from the address on Corta Bella Drive in Las Vegas, which matched Carleo’s Nevada driver’s license, according to the police report.

As investigators narrowed their sights on Carleo, undercover officers began meeting with him at the Bellagio on Jan. 28 to buy the $25,000 chips, according to the arrest report. Carleo allegedly sold the undercover officer several $25,000 chips, which he said were from the Bellagio heist, and police took him into custody.

When questioned by investigators during an interview at police headquarters following the arrest, Carleo confessed to his involvement in the robbery, police said.

The night Carleo was arrested, police also made contact with his girlfriend at the Bellagio.

She consented to a search of her apartment.

Inside, police recovered sixteen $25,000 chips and $5,000 worth of cash, according to the arrest report. They found seven more $25,000 chips at another residence in Las Vegas after executing a search warrant.

Thursday afternoon, Carleo’s father, George Assad, said in a statement that his family is “devastated and heartbroken” about the arrest, but he cannot ethically discuss the pending legal matter.

“I can say that as a prosecutor and a judge, I have always felt people who break the law need to be held accountable,” Assad wrote.

Carleo is scheduled to make his first court appearance Friday morning, according to jail records.

At the time of the Bellagio robbery, investigators said they suspected the Bellagio bandit was the same man who robbed the Suncoast, 9090 Alta Drive, on Dec. 9. In that holdup, the man robbed a cashier’s cage near where a poker tournament was going on and got away with just less than $20,000, police said.

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  1. What amazes me is that even though the robbery took only three minutes, there was very little response by security. I would think that security would have been immediately alerted by a man walking into a casino wearing a helmet. Maybe there is a "no chase" policy. Glad they caught the alleged robber.

  2. Mercurialmike,

    You are right, there is a no-chase policy. Above, in the "archives" sidebar, I draw your attention to this story, which explains it.

  3. Oops, looks like intelligence skipped a generation in Anthony's case.

  4. The whole thing is very suspicious.

    If the chips could not be cashed as the casino claimed, then why discontinued them?

    Motorcycle make and model on video, helmet make on video, DMV database of motorcycle endorsements and motorcycle solved.

    The whole thing is very amateurish and suspicious, just like the old Harvey's extortion/bombing supposedly done by a guy who lost $1 million dollars at the casino.

    I wonder if this "suspect" has a connection to the casino? or a high roller who gambled there?

  5. Others are reporting that the Suspect is Judge Assad's son...not the brighest bulb in the judicial box.

    This is good for my conspiracy theory.

  6. It looks like the suspects "family" has quite a track record in Pueblo, CO., and some interesting connections to the Las Vegas Area dating back to the 70's. Guess the Pueblo CO real estate market went south and some people might have had to get involved with another "venture."

    I wonder if Judge Assad will recuse himself from this case??

    (I haven't had do much fun since the "condo guy" with all the interesting connections.)

  7. Getting their own "people" on the Peublo police department, a business that deals in "surplus mechandize" and guy into "fixing up" downtown." Where have we heard that before?

  8. You go sit down at a blackjack table and someone accuses you of a counter and see how fast security responds.

  9. Wow!!!!! The guy that did it got arrested..... I wonder how they caught him>? Did any1 get the 50k reward from Robinhood702?????????

  10. the term b-j counter is way over-rated these days. the "no mid round entry" rule is one thing, the deep penetration is a different thing. While a player may be over 100 per cent at times it is only for a few hands and all the times he's betting minimum bet he's under 100 per cent, so, what's the point? Anyways, the casinos are basically paranoid as it comes to b-j and try to put hand cuffs on each and every player who might look like a counter. Only the players not hitting 12 versus 10 and always taking insurance and always splitting 5-5 against A are the players not being super suspense, aren't they?

    From Switzerland

  11. Why is there no mention in the article about WHO this person is? He is the son of a judge.

  12. People should realize that Pueblo was the home of the "Mountain Mafia" Some of the people came with the steel mills from back east, others came out when it got too hot for them in the East or Midwest. They would set up legitimate businesses such as restaurants, cheese companies, surplus and damaged freight good places, etc.. Someone could high-jack a shipment of goods back east and it could be retailed in Pueblo. The cops there as the above article mentions were "compromised" in many cases.

    This guy's (assuming he is who they say) uncle was the head of the letter carriers union, then later got into real estate redeveloping downtown with his brother (this guy's step father, if the other reports are correct.)

    You wonder if they had connections to high rollers who could get rid of the chips, or maybe someone on the inside who could do it?

  13. Life is just one big crap shoot. Hey, I am the son of a bitch, so how come they never mention that when I do something stupid, but daring? Did they say "drugs"?
    Well, he knows how to play the game, a dream team of pit bull lawyers might be par for the course. I'll bet he does time, though.
    Probably the best thing that ever happened to him was getting busted. He can spend the next 30 years,pondering; first of all, chips are hard to pass, second, helmets will protect you, but are not "fool proof", and third, "what were you thinking"? Call me when your paroled, and we can play some craps.

  14. Ya' gotta' give the kid credit for trying to make his own name in the family.

  15. Looks like this kid's stepfather, grandfather?, assuming these reports are right, has donated money to Republican Ted Harvey, a bible-thump-er involved in his own mortgage "scandals" with his mortgage company.

    Limo service, mobile DJ, Real Estate, redevelopment, casino hold up??? Reminds me of the old "hole in the wall" days...if you can't make ends meet with the traditional rackets, pull a big heist.

    Who could cash these chips? Maybe someone of prominence in the community? Like a Judge?

  16. Samsung, you're back, Mom restored my computer privileges and I came out of the basement. Anyway, the matter at hand. This guy is a moron, back when this thing broke, I thought he should of gotten out of Dodge, or in this case Las Vegas. He was hotter than a pistol. But No.............. he has to stay and try to fence the high value chips with an undercover. He probably could of had a trusted associate cash the low value chips, that was supposed to be $50,000 plus, and then be done with it. Greed got in the way and he had to have it all. Now he is going to get hammered, I don't care who he has representing him. If you could somehow resurrect Johnie Cochran, even he couldn't get him off. If the helmet don't fit you must aquit. This dude is doomed. How say you, samsung?

  17. And mred, I see that the bees are positively swarming in your bonnet over this story.

  18. The search warrants may have only come AFTER he tried to sell the chips to the undercover, was detained on suspicion of the robbery and identified by name. It may very well be that prior to the encounter with the undercover the police had no idea or suspicion it was Mr. Carleo.

  19. Did you know Mister Ed was a cross between an ass and a Palomino?

  20. Bellagio needs to invest in better security cameras.

    Maybe then the judge would have know that was his boy and turned him in.

  21. Hey mred, you forgot to say, "Maybe he was funding the cutters." Or "Maybe he was just practicing for the big heist at PityCenter."

  22. Sounds like the guy was set-up. What evidence, other than selling a chip, does Metro have? So far, it only sounds like they have him on possession/sale of stolen merchandise. Not enough facts to make me believe they have the right guy, yet.

  23. Your right, I'm wrong. Just a simple hold-up. A just a coincidence that the guy lived at the Judge's home. The Judge might not have seen the motorcycle. I'll get excited about the stupor-bowl, instead.

    (Just saw on MSNBC, the AG Masto is going on the Dylan Ratigan Show to talk about some banking/mortgage conspiracy, what's wrong with these conspiracy people?)

  24. Come on, $15,000 Bail, he puts up $1500 and he is out of Jail, guess for what ever reason they do not consider him a Flight Risk if he does flee John Walsh of America's Most Wanted will be after him, Be careful Young Man, you have certainly screwed up your life, I cannot even imagine living in the environment that you are soon going to be living in. Judge's Son or not, MGN/MIRAGE Group will not mess with you.................................

  25. Here comes da comes da Judge...

  26. Maxwell Smart, I mean Stewart he's in custody they gave him no bail on the robbery with a deadly weapon count, he ain't going anywhere anytime soon. Oh vey, arrested in or was staying at the Bellagio. Dunce. Ouch if a jury hears that. Wonder what they got or can get on him besides the chips, what if he clams up tighter than Mred in a restaurant with friends when asked to pick up the check? What if they cant link him to motorcycle, helmet, clothing, gun, etc, the bad video may not help in a positive id. What if he claims he was getting rid of the chips for Mr. X. He could at least use it if they had nothing else, to plead it down, otherwise he is going down hard.

  27. "Steiber said Carleo will not be formally charged with trafficking in a controlled substance"?
    I wonder if Daddy has something to do with this.

  28. Looks like the Doctor that prescribed the suspect his Oxycontin used the same nondescript pharmacy that Dr. Conrad Murray used in the Michael Jackson case, small world...

    Like the Harvey's Wagon Wheel extortion/bombing case, the suspect was a big player and loser...

    Guess that is the prime suspect in a casino job, a gambler/loser.

    This guy didn't seem to discreet with his blabbing to the poker dealer. Of course he said he was "connected" ummm, so maybe he didn't have to worry? Connected to who? The Judge? The "people" in Pueblo?

    It is also a given that the division between the cage at the poker room and that of the general casino will have to merge or be interconnected.

    This case was over 4 days after it took place, but Metro took there time seeing if others were or would be involved. Looks like they did a good job on this case.

  29. The arrest report said the guns were registered to the "address." My blue card registers the gun to me, WHO are we talking about??? As if the Blue Card and the database don't have a name associated with the gun?

    When this guy came from Pueblo Colorado (what some term the headquarters of the "Mountain Mafia") did he take all HIS guns down to the local Metro station and register them??

    A Blue Walther PPK .380 and an HK... The blued Walther PPK is a rich man's gun, most people won't pay $600 to $1000 for such a small calibre gun. The fancy blue job is a expensive version, not some black plated job. Most people would get a Glock, or Colt, Kel Tec, etc. rather than pay that kind of money for a gun that is more "name" than a reliable weapon.

    You don't think he was using the "Judge's Gun do you? Enquiring minds want to know. Does the judge keep his guns locked up?

    (Gillespie will use this to defend the blue card system, but the case was solved by the suspect blabbing to a poker dealer that he knew at the casino.)

  30. If you have the time, read the arrest report in pdf. form.Its an interesting read.Just another guy with some serious addiction problems-gambling and oxicodone-who was willing to do serious things to fund those addictions.Got to admire the guys balls,his discretion.......well,not so much.
    Party's over for him,fortunately no one got hurt.

  31. This is delirious. It's almost as entertaining as mred.

  32. Genius one minute, degenerate the next.

    Loose lips always have sunk ships. Inbred monkeys only could do stupid things.

    Tack on the IRS tax evasion charge and the only daylight this guy will ever see will come from a skylight in the state prison.

    I bet he's playing cards with his cellmates right now.

  33. What the heck happened to the Salvation Army bell ringer? He shouldn't have had any authority to cash in casino chips. Was he going to keep the $25,000 cash? Sure bet! They need to lock him up, too!

    Well, I was going to watch The Great Indian Wars tonight, but now I guess I'll have to settle for Ocean25.

  34. If this guy is still into the mob for $250,000 he could end up getting hit, even in the joint and even in protective custody. The facts in this case are so bizarre and strange that you couldn't make this stuff up if you tried. His addictions may end up mitigating his sentence, however I'm sure he'll get some serious hard time. Sad and pathetic situation, a life ruined.

  35. This guy must have been afraid of daylight.

  36. Wow, sounds like a book deal or a movie. This guy is either incredibly smart or incredibly stupid; But, none the less, he's getting a comp room and food while spending the casino's money. Maybe he just has some big ones. He still has the nations attention. Just think, the mob, million dollar heist, dad a judge, and spending the loot right in their face, big ones. When he finally gets out he could have more money than he stole.

  37. For all of you trashing my posts, today the Brand X newspaper in town is reporting some of the information about Pueblo, the step-dad, the uncle, downtown Pueblo, the investigation about "fixing" the police force, the Chieftain Newspaper, and so on.

    You saw it here yesterday, so I might be a crackpot, but I do my OWN research.

    Also, the gun angle, Was the PPK daddy's gun?

  38. This guy has stupid written all over his face! According to the news reports, Carleo stayed at the Bellagio several times and cashed the lower denomination chips while he was there. He stayed as a comped guest based on the amount of money he was gambling in the Bellagio before he robbed it.

    First of all, he has to be stupid to cash the chips at the same casino he robbed! If this idiot knew anything about the resorts here in Vegas, he would know you can cash the smaller denomination chips from Bellagio at one of the sister properties like Aria or Mandalay Bay!

    Secondly, if he was really smart, he would have realized he would never be able to cash the $25,000 chips ANYWHERE withour raising red flags and just destroyed the chips. Didn't he have enough of the lower denominations? But greed did him in on this.

    Lastly, running your mouth and bragging about it online or to dealers, friends, or whoever is what really did him in.

    But this guy is obviously not very smart and of course being a heavy drug user didn't help either. He probably blew a lot of the money on that too! Enjoy prison Mr. Carleo or whatever your real last name is. Daddy judge will not be able to help you.