Suspect in Bellagio casino robbery to face trial


The man accused of robbing the Bellagio of $1.5 million in gambling chips will stand trial, a Las Vegas Justice of the Peace ruled Friday.

Anthony Michael Carleo, 29, will face three counts of armed robbery, including an enhancement of a victim being 60 years or older, and one count each of assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and carrying a concealed weapon.

Justice of the Peace Ann Zimmerman dismissed one count of assault with a deadly weapon before binding over the case because prosecutors couldn't support that charge, according to testimony at a preliminary hearing that began in February.

Defense attorney Bill Terry argued that all the charges should be dismissed because the state hadn't produced the gun Carleo allegedly displayed during the robbery. Assistant District Attorney Chris Owens said a description by a witness is sufficient under state law and that prosecutors did not need to produce the weapon.

Zimmerman's decision was delayed for more than a month because Terry wanted to question a confidential informant who helped police gather evidence against Carleo.

Terry said the prosecution eventually gave him an address for the witness, Kian Kaveh. But Terry said he had been unable to reach Kaveh to confirm police testimony.

"It was fairly apparent to us that he was avoiding service of the subpoena," Terry said.

Police said Kaveh set up meetings between Carleo and an undercover police detective who arranged to buy stolen chips.

An arraignment hearing for Carleo was set for April 21 in District Court.

Carleo, the son of Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge George Assad, is being held at the Clark County Detention Center on $1 million bail, according to jail records.

At 3:50 a.m. Dec. 14, a man parked a late-model black motorcycle at the Bellagio's north valet entrance. Leaving it running, he walked into the casino wearing a white, full-face motorcycle helmet and a leather jacket.

Walking past slot machines, the man stopped at the table games closest to the door. He pulled out a pistol and demanded money from the craps dealer. The man then ran out with an estimated $1.5 million in Bellagio chips in denominations from $100 to $25,000.

No one was hurt in the robbery and no shots were fired, Las Vegas police said.

In and out of the casino in minutes, the robber was last seen riding the motorcycle west on Flamingo Road, police said.

Carleo was arrested Feb. 3 after allegedly selling some of the stolen $25,000 chips -- known as "cranberries" because of their color -- to undercover officers.

He was arrested at the Bellagio, where he was staying as a comped high roller who lost more than $100,000 gambling away what police say were stolen chips.

Authorities said a total of $1.2 million in chips and cash had been recovered or accounted for.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.

 

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