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Bellagio heist foiled; California man arrested

Michael Q. Belton, a 24-year-old man from Nuevo, was arrested in a botched Bellagio heist on Saturday, May 19, 2012.

May 22, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two men in wigs and glasses attempted to rob the Bellagio, but a suspect with $115,000 worth of casino chips was wrestled to the floor by security.

It was the second time in two years that the posh casino was hit by robbers.

Authorities say one of the suspects sprayed a blackjack dealer with a substance similar to pepper spray, while another suspect, identified as 24-year-old Michael Q. Belton of Nuevo, snatched the chips and took off for the door on Saturday at about 10:45 p.m.

A pit supervisor tackled Belton and held him until police arrived. The man who sprayed the noxious gas escaped. Police believe a third suspect was waiting outside in a getaway car.

Investigators said Belton told them he needed the money because he is unemployed and his grandparents are ill.

He apparently didn't know the suspect who got away. Belton told investigators he responded to an Internet posting for a job repossessing cars. But when he reached Las Vegas, the man who posted the job ad said he wanted him to help another man rob the Bellagio.

Belton is facing felony robbery, conspiracy and burglary charges. Belton's alleged accomplice, Carlos Rodriguez, apparently left a clue for police - his driver's license with his home address.

In December 2010, Anthony Carleo, the son of a Las Vegas judge, walked into the Bellagio with a gun and wearing a motorcycle helmet. He walked out with $1.5 million worth of chips. He was arrested trying to redeem a $25,000 chip.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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