Bellagio suspect was ‘class clown’

The stepfather and stepuncle of the suspect in the Bellagio heist are no strangers to police scrutiny in rough-and-tumble Pueblo, Colo.

Las Vegas police allege Anthony Carleo, 29, wearing a motorcycle helmet, robbed the Bellagio of $1.5 million in chips at 3:50 a.m. Dec. 14 and dashed through the casino to his motorcycle.

Some who grew up with Carleo in Pueblo said they wouldn’t be surprised if he were involved in such a brazen plan.

One classmate, after hearing the news Thursday, said on his Facebook page: “Fun fact. Tony was voted ‘class clown’ in our high school class, not Most Likely to Succeed.”

Another source told Vegas Confidential, “He was always a ‘hey look at me’ kind of guy. I friend-requested him on Facebook a couple months ago, but I didn’t hear back. I guess I won’t be hearing from him for a while.”

His 2000 high school yearbook listed the suspect’s last name as Carleo-Assad.

His father is Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge George Assad.

After his parents divorced, the son moved to Pueblo to be with his mother, who married Gino Carleo, a hardscrabble tavern owner who teamed up with his younger, flamboyant brother, Louie, in real estate deals.

“They own half of downtown Pueblo,” a source told Vegas Confidential.

Louie Carleo is a colorful character, given to ostentation. He wore monogrammed shirts, drove an SUV and kept a piranha, the flesh-eating fish of the Amazon, in his office, according to a 2003 article in The Gazette in Colorado Springs.

“Louie was the nicest guy in the world,” the source said.

But Gino was trouble, “a real (expletive). … They couldn’t be more opposite,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Louie took on all sorts of high-profile positions in the community. He unsuccessfully ran for the Pueblo City Council.

Sometimes the police came calling.

Pueblo’s local paper, The Chieftain, reported that Louie Carleo was confronted by the former district attorney during a grand jury investigation into organized crime’s influence in Pueblo.

“Among other things,” the paper said, “the grand jury concluded that police promotional tests had been fixed, and several individuals — including some police officers — were indicted and convicted.”

Louie Carleo was not implicated in that and told The Chieftain the investigation “unfairly played on Pueblo’s old image as a corrupt city run by organized crime.”

MAY I RECOMMEND

If you love pomp, parades and the Super Bowl, it’s a good weekend to be in Las Vegas. Tens of thousands of visitors for Super Bowl weekend and the Chinese New Year have several options. Visitors will find New Year’s festivities up, down and off the Strip, and football fans can enjoy the excitement of one of the biggest party weekends of the year. Go to lvrj.com for more on Chinese New Year events and where to watch the Super Bowl.

SIGHTINGS

Irish actor Colin Farrell, spotted checking into the Wynn on Thursday. … UFC president Dana White and former UFC champ Brock Lesnar, having dinner at N9NE Steakhouse (Palms) on Wednesday. … Singer Lenny Kravitz, with friends at Tao Asian Bistro (Venetian) on Wednesday. … NFL Pro Bowl linebackers Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes of the San Francisco 49ers at Munchbar (Caesars Palace) on Wednesday night.

THE PUNCH LINE

“Mubarak said he’ll retire in five years and then hand the job off to Conan. Even Brett Favre was like, ‘Come on man, retire already. You’re embarrassing yourself.’ ” — Jimmy Kimmel

Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.

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