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Bellagio bandit sentenced to at least 3 years in prison

August 23, 2011 | 11:34 am

Bellagio bandit 
The gun-wielding "Biker Bandit" who robbed the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas of $1.5 million in chips was sentenced Tuesday to at least three years in prison.

Anthony Carleo, who pleaded guilty to armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon in June, apologized for his "reckless" actions, the Associated Press reported.

"I'm extremely sorry for everything I've done. I owe my mother and father an apology. I'm sorry, your honor," Carleo told Judge Michelle Leavitt, who put off deciding whether Carleo must pay for the chips, most of which authorities have recovered.

Carleo's attorney, William Terry, said Carleo had been on a drug-fueled downward spiral since moving to Las Vegas to study at the local university, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

In the wee hours of Dec. 14, Carleo stormed into the opulent Bellagio, wearing a helmet that obscured his face and waving a handgun at craps table No. 5. He stuffed casino chips ranging in denomination from $100 to $25,000 into a fanny pack, raced off the gaming floor and zoomed away on a black motorcycle.

But Carleo's thievery lacked Hollywood polish. A few days beforehand, court papers said, he told a Bellagio poker dealer that it would be "easy" to rip off a casino.

"Dude, you watch 'Ocean's Eleven' too much. This is real life and that ... doesn't happen," the dealer said.

"Oh, no, it's not that hard. All you need is a black mask and a motorcycle, and I have a motorcycle," Carleo replied.

After the theft, it didn't take long for Carleo to return to the crime scene. He gambled away so much at the Bellagio -– $72,000 on New Year's Eve alone -– that the casino provided him with the meals and hotel rooms it typically affords to high-rollers, authorities said.

The high-end casino is also where authorities said he sold "cranberry" chips –- valued at $25,000 -– to an undercover officer at cut-rate prices. The officer testified that when he suggested Carleo join his crew and rip off the Bellagio, Carleo laughed.

"I already did," said Carleo, the son of a former Las Vegas municipal judge. He was arrested soon afterward.

Carleo has also pleaded guilty to robbing the local Suncoast casino of about $20,000 a few days before the Bellagio heist. He is scheduled to be sentenced in that robbery later this week.

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-- Ashley Powers in Las Vegas
Twitter.com/ashleypowers

Photo: Anthony Carleo, the Bellagio bandit, in court during an April hearing. Credit: Julie Jacobson / Associated Press

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