Man pleads guilty in Bellagio chip robbery

A 24-year-old man pleaded guilty to robbery and conspiracy for the brazen but botched heist attempt at the Bellagio casino in May.

Michael Belton pleaded guilty to the charges last week before District Court Hearing Master Melisa De La Garza, who set a sentencing hearing for Sept. 26.

Belton faces two to 21 years in prison. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop one count of burglary against Belton, who remained jailed at the Clark County Detention Center on $60,000 bail.

Belton was one of three men in a conspiracy to try and rob the Bellagio of high-value gaming chips. But the attempt was foiled by quick-thinking casino employees.

The two other suspects are still at large, court and jail records show.

According to a police report, Belton and a second man, known only as "Carlos," were wearing black wigs and sunglasses and wielding a can of pepper spray when they entered the high-stakes blackjack area about 10:45 p.m. May 19.

"Carlos" sprayed the table as Belton snatched 23 $5,000 chips, worth $115,000, according to the report.

Three people tackled Belton, spilling the chips onto the floor. "Carlos" escaped.

Belton later told investigators he planned the caper with two other men: "Carlos" and Carlos Rodriguez.

Belton, of Nuevo, Calif., told detectives he came to Las Vegas after learning of a job opportunity repossessing cars.

Rodriguez told him of a plan to rob the Bellagio, and Belton agreed because he was broke and his grandparents were sick, the report showed.

The plan called for Belton and the other "Carlos" to pepper spray a dealer and steal as many chips as they could.

Once they left the casino, they would discard their disguises, rendezvous at a Mandalay Bay hotel room and hand off the chips to Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, who claimed to be a high roller, then would exchange the stolen chips for cash and split it three ways, the report said.

With Belton's help, police discovered the room that was comped to Carlos Rodriguez of North Hollywood, Calif., according to the report.