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|Bellagio Biker Bandit charged on second robbery
| Son of a Las
Vegas judge, Anthony M. Carleo, charged on second casino heist
For a month after allegedly robbing the
Bellagio Casino, Las Vegas, of $1.5 million in chips, Anthony M. Carleo spent
the small denomination chips on partying, drink and drugs. He was then left
with a problem. What to do with all those Cranberry chips, the ones worth
His answer was to
join the popular forum, TwoPlusTwo.com, where people converse over many poker
topics, including 'who was the Biker Bandit'. In his unsettled mental state it
seemed reasonable to him to change his moniker to Cranberrykid25 and engage in
forum discussions about who the Biker Bandit was. Matthew Brooks, a 29-year-old
management consultant from Washington, D.C., was targeted by Carleo as a
potential 'whale' and offered his telephone number in an email exchange. Brooks
himself had garnered attention by speculating online as to whether there was a
secondary market for the missing chips from the Bellagio. Brooks, curious,
called Carleo for detailed discussion.
What happened next was to land Carleo in trouble
with the FBI. Thinking wrongly that Brooks was a big time poker player, Carleo
offered him Cranberry chips at 20 cents on the dollar. Gradually realising that
the anxious voice on the other end of the line could well be the Biker Bandit
himself, Brooks pressed on.
I just asked him point blank,
Did you just happen to come by these chips or is this your deal? Did you
do this?? Brooks said. He said, Oh, that was me.
Im that guy.
For the next 20 minutes, Brooks tried to
build a rapport with Carleo over the phone. Brooks said Carleo asked him if he
wanted to see a picture of the chips. Before he knew it, Brooks had been
e-mailed eight images of two $25,000 Bellagio chips. The chips were placed in
different positions on a sheet of loose leaf paper as if Carleo was modeling
them in a photo shoot.
One picture had a handwritten message from
Carleo: To Provotrout: Good Luck My Friend
and signed it
Biker Bandit 1/26/11. (Provotrout was Brooks'
At that point, I was just about positive it was the
guy, Brooks said.
He wasted no time. Working with a co-worker,
Brooks was able to trace Carleos computer IP address to a location in
Summerlin. He e-mailed Metro Police and the FBI with the information, but with
no immediate response, he sent all of the correspondence and information to
Bellagio security. Metro called him that night and he gave a statement.
Carleo, though, was not perturbed by this fruitless encounter and
returned several times to the scene of the crime before his luck finally ran
out on Wednesday, 2nd February, 2011.
"He likes to gamble," Las Vegas
police Lt. Ray Steiber said as he described for reporters how Anthony M.
Carleo, 29, the son of a Las Vegas judge, was nabbed late Wednesday on the same
casino floor at the Bellagio resort.
Police recovered $900,000 in
chips, and can account for $1.2 million, Steiber said. He said police were
still looking for the black Suzuki GSXR they say Carleo used to make his
getaway in the pre-dawn hours of Dec. 14.
|Police photo of Anthony M.
Chips are unique to
casino properties and are generally not interchangeable, although state
regulations let casino companies redeem sister properties' chips with some
restrictions. After the heist, the Bellagio announced plans to discontinue the
casino's $25,000 chips in April, setting a deadline for the thief to try to use
them. Police have not said whether Carleo tried to redeem the chips
which ranged from $100 to $25,000 before his arrest.
believed that the Bellagio robbery of December 14, 2010 was linked to the
Suncoast Casino robbery on Thursday December 9, 2010. Just days before the
Bellagio robbery, Carleo allegedly hit the Suncoast Hotel and Casino at 12:30
The Suncoast at the time was hosting a poker tournament. Police
claim Carleo drove up his motorcycle to the Suncoast, parked it near the valet
station, walked into the casino, approached the cage handling the
tournaments chips, and got out with his loot. In both robberies the
suspect was wearing a silver motorcycle helmet and dark clothing.
After months of investigations, prosecutors today (12th May) charged Carleo
with the 2010 robbery of the second hotel.