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Riverside County suspect explains Bellagio heist

May 23, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Riverside County man told his story after he allegedly tried to carry out a Las Vegas casino heist. He could face years in jail if convicted.

Michael Belton is from Nuevo, California, about 90 miles east of Los Angeles. He is facing four felony counts of burglary and robbery.

He told investigators he participated in an attempted heist of casino chips at the Bellagio in Las Vegas because he is unemployed and because his grandparents are ill.

Belton made his first court appearance Wednesday. He did not enter a plea, but he told a Las Vegas judge that he understands the charges against him. Earlier, he talked to a reporter how the case.

Belton says he entered the Bellagio Casino Saturday night wearing a wig and sunglasses. An accomplice peppers-prayed the dealer while Belton grabbed $115,000 worth of chips.

"I was walking up to the table and it was all just a blur. I remember it but I couldn't really see. Just adrenaline going," said Belton.

But Belton didn't get far. The 26-year-old was tackled to the ground by casino security.

Speaking from a jail in Las Vegas, Belton says he doesn't know the name of his accomplice. He says he met him through a Craigslist ad for a job repossessing cars. Belton says a third man named Carlos Rodriguez was the mastermind, who claimed he could later exchange the chips for cash.

"He thought he had it all planned out," said Belton. "He knew exactly what pit bosses and stuff would do. Knowing if somebody had pepper-spray or something like that, they were supposed to just back off. Which obviously he was wrong. Because I got hit as soon as I touched the chips.

But Belton is the only one behind bars.

"Oh pissed the [expletive ]off right now. But I deserve it," said Belton.

Belton is due in court on June 6 when he is expected to enter a plea. Investigators are still looking for the two alleged accomplices.

All of the chips Belton grabbed were recovered.


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