Las Vegas Bellagio Heist Foiled

May 22, 2012 11:53am
abc bellagio heist jef 120522 wblog Las Vegas Bellagio Heist Foiled

                                                                                                 (Image credit: KTNV/ABC News)

A band of hapless thieves with no “Ocean’s 11″-like finesse were foiled while allegedly attempting to rob the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, leaving behind a wig, sunglasses and $115,000 in casino chips.

The botched heist took place Saturday night in the famed hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. The incident began when a man pepper-sprayed a blackjack dealer and another swiped $115,000 in colorful chips from the casino table, according to ABC News’ Las Vegas affiliate KTNV.

A quick-thinking employee tackled the thief and wrestled him on the ground, as a shocked crowd gathered around the spectacle, authorities said. The accomplice was able to escape and officials believe there might have been a third person involved.

The thief was arrested and identified as Michael Belton, 24, of California. According to a statement from Belton, both men were from California and had plotted the heist in advance, KTNV reported. The plan was to enter the casino in disguises, commit the robbery and shed the disguises on the way back to the Strip in order to blend in with the tourists.

Police said the men had checked into the Mandalay Bay, but never entered, KTNV reported. Police said they are searching for a second man in connection with the incident, Carlos Rodriguez of North Hollywood, Calif.

Belton is being held on $60,000 bail at Clark County Jail on charges of felony robbery, conspiracy and burglary charges. He is expected to make his first court appearance today.

This is the second time in recent years that a Bellagio robbery has been foiled. A would-be thief with a gun snatched $1.5 million in chips in December 2010. The robber, Anthony Michael Carleo, escaped on a motorcycle but was arrested trying to redeem a $25,000 chip.

He was sentenced to three to 11 years in state prison for armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.

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