The man accused of robbing at gunpoint the Bellagio of $1.5 million in gambling chips laughed when an undercover police officer suggested knocking over the casino.
"I already did," Anthony Michael Carleo told Las Vegas police officer Michael Gennaro, according to testimony at a preliminary hearing before Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Ann Zimmerman Wednesday.
Zimmerman was to determine if prosecutors have enough evidence to send the case to trial. But the hearing was continued after testimony from Gennaro and three other witnesses because defense attorney William Terry wanted to interview a confidential informant who was at the meetings between Gennaro and Carleo.
A status check in the case was set for March 9.
Gennaro said Carleo, the son of Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge George Assad, believed the most he could be charged with was possession of stolen property.
The 29-year-old faces three counts of armed robbery, including an enhancement of a victim being 60-years or older; two counts of assault with a deadly weapon; and one count each of burglary and carrying a concealed weapon.
Gennaro said during five meetings with Carleo, the officer purchased at a cut rate 14 $25,000 chips that Carleo allegedly robbed from a Bellagio craps table about 4 a.m. Dec. 14.
Carleo was on a self-described drug and gambling binge that was spiraling out of control, Gennaro testified.
Carleo told Gennaro during the meetings that he had gambled away $300,000 at the Bellagio. He told the officer on New Year's Eve alone, he lost $70,000.
Gennaro testified that Carleo complained his father was upset with the son's lifestyle of drug use and gambling and cut his allowance from $1,000 a month to $600.
Carleo told Gennaro he was using cocaine and OxyContin.
Gennaro testified he purchased the $25,000 chips for $7,000 to $10,000 each.
Gennaro told Carleo he was from New York and was bringing his crew to Las Vegas.
The officer testified that he asked Carleo to join his crew and rob the Bellagio.
Gennaro testified that Carleo told him "I already did." Gennaro said Carleo then laughed.
Zimmerman also heard testimony from three Bellagio employees who testified at 3:50 a.m. Dec. 14, a man dressed in black and wearing a white striped motorcycle helmet parked a Suzuki motorcycle at the Bellagio's north valet entrance.
The man briskly walked into the casino and stopped at a craps table near the entrance and told employees to "move," at which point someone yelled "he has a gun," according to testimony from floor supervisor Don Crosby.
People ran or dropped to the floor, said Crosby, who celebrated his 72nd birthday Wednesday.
Crosby said he didn't know how many chips the masked man grabbed, but that he took them primarily from the middle of the chip rack where the $25,000 chips were located.
The man then ran back to his motorcycle where he was confronted by a security officer and a valet supervisor. The valet supervisor, George Pappas, testified the man pointed a gun at him and told him to "move."
The man fled on the motorcycle westbound on Flamingo Road.
No one was hurt in the robbery, and no shots were fired.
Weeks later, Carleo was arrested at the Bellagio where he was staying as a comped high roller. Authorities have said a total of $1.2 million in chips and cash have been recovered or accounted for.
Terry noted during the preliminary hearing that Assistant District Attorney Chris Owens did not refer to a confession Carleo reportedly gave to investigators. Terry said that during the statement, Carleo invoked his right to counsel eight times.
A district judge will have to determine if the statement can be used against Carleo at trial.
After the hearing was continued, Terry asked Zimmerman to set a reasonable bail amount for his client, something he had not done when the case first came to justice court because of Carleo's drug use, the defense attorney said. Carleo was being held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center.
Owens argued that Carleo should be kept in jail on no bail because in the Bellagio room where he was staying when he was arrested, police found a hand gun and diagrams of money locations at Caesars Palace.
Citing concerns over his drug use and self destructive behavior, Zimmerman ordered bail set at $1 million. If Carleo can post the amount he would then be placed on house arrest, she said.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@review journal.com or 702-380-1039.