'Biker bandit' pleads guilty to Suncoast robbery

Biker bandit Anthony Carleo pleaded guilty Thursday to pulling off an $18,945 robbery at the Suncoast in the first of two daring casino heists in December.

Carleo, 29, the son of defeated Las Vegas Municipal Judge George Assad, entered guilty pleas to charges of armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon in the Dec. 9 holdup.

When Melisa De La Garza, the District Court's arraignment hearing master, asked Carleo how he pleaded to the two charges, he firmly replied, "Guilty."

Carleo, dressed in jail garb and shackles, spoke politely from behind a glass partition that separates jailed defendants from the arraignment court in the basement of the Regional Justice Center. He is being held at the Clark County Detention Center.

Earlier this week, Carleo pleaded guilty to the same felony charges in the Dec. 14 theft of $1.5 million in gambling chips from the Bellagio on the Strip.

In both robberies, Carleo used a motorcycle for a quick getaway and wore a helmet to conceal his face, authorities said.

The Bellagio heist made international headlines and featured security footage of an armed man in a motorcycle helmet briskly walking through the casino.

Carleo faces a combined eight to 72 years in prison in the two robbery cases, his lawyer William Terry said after Thursday's plea.

Terry said Carleo's "acceptance of responsibility," brought on by a mind free of drugs during his incarceration, led to the two plea agreements.

Carleo, whose drug use played a role in the robberies, expects to start treatment before he is sentenced, Terry said.

Carleo is to be sentenced before District Judge Michelle Leavitt on Aug. 23 in the Bellagio case and District Judge Michael Villani on Aug. 25 in the Suncoast case.

Terry said Assad, who has been absent from his son's previous court appearances, will attend the sentencings.

"It's been at my suggestion that he not make appearances because he recently went through an election," Terry said. "And my feeling was that it would hurt him on his election, and it did."

Assad lost his re-election bid earlier this month to attorney Heidi Almase.

As part of Carleo's plea agreement, prosecutors will drop eight felony charges against him in the two cases, including three robbery counts. Assistant District Attorney Chris Owens said his office will not pursue any other charges against Carleo, including potential drug and weapons charges that were being investigated.

Carleo was arrested Feb. 2 after selling $25,000 Bellagio chips to an undercover Las Vegas police officer at a cut rate.

At the time of his arrest, Carleo was on a self-described drug and gambling binge that was spiraling out of control.

Carleo told the undercover officer, Michael Gennaro, during the meetings that he had gambled away $300,000 at the Bellagio, including $70,000 on New Year's Eve alone.

Gennaro testified that Carleo complained about his father, who was upset with the son's lifestyle of drug use and gambling and had cut his allowance from $1,000 a month to $600.

Carleo was using cocaine and Oxy­Contin, according to the officer's testimony.

Contact reporter Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135.


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