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Bellagio heist suspect expected in court

This police booking photo provided on Thursday Feb. 3, 2011 by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department shows Anthony M. Carleo, 29, from Las Vegas who was being held on felony armed robbery and burglary charges. Police say the Las Vegas man is suspected of the brazen armed robbery of $1.5 million in casino chips from the posh Bellagio resort on the Las Vegas Strip on Dec. 14. (Las Vegas Police Department)

February 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The man at the center of the $1.5 million heist at the Bellagio in 2010 is set to make his first court appearance on Monday.

Anthony Carleo, the son of a Las Vegas judge, is charged with stealing the money in chips at gunpoint in mid December.

Police said Carleo donned a helmet and entered the Bellagio, brandished a gun and made off on a motorcycle with the chips in denominations from $100 to $25,000.

After the heist, authorities said Carleo returned to the scene of the crime and was treated like a high roller as he played with the stolen chips.

He stayed at least one week at the resort enjoying meals, drinks and rooms furnished by the casino.

He was caught after allegedly trying to sell the stolen chips online to poker players.

Casino chips are similar to store gift cards and they're very limited in where they can be redeemed. After the heist, the Bellagio quickly replaced its line of $25,000 chips on the floor and announced they would no longer circulate those like the ones stolen.

That's why Carleo was trying to get rid of them on a secondary market.

Carleo was arrested Wednesday, a day after an undercover officer bought four $25,000 chips from him, then offered an invitation - to become part of a crew that would rob casinos, including the Bellagio. Upon receiving the invite, Carleo responded by saying he had already robbed the place.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.