He Robbed a Vegas Casino for $1.5M. And Blew It All

'I got to...live the dream'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2016 4:31 PM CDT
How Cranberries Brought Down Man Who Robbed the Bellagio
Tony Carleo, aka the Biker Bandit, in court in 2011.   (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

(Newser) – "I felt like a big swinging dick," Tony Carleo says. "I just jacked this place and now I'm going to cash in everything I took." In 2010, a man in a motorcycle helmet robbed the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas, making off with nearly $1.5 million in chips. Now Rolling Stone has a look at the man behind the infamous Biker Bandit visor. The idea of stealing chips "became like an infection in my brain," Carleo tells the magazine from prison. He had lost most of his money in a real estate scheme and gambled away what remained—between $20,000 and $30,000—over the course of a few days. "I felt like a plane going down, just spiraling," Carleo says. So he did what so many other gamblers have only fantasized about: He robbed the casino.

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Soon Carleo was back at the Bellagio, gambling at the same craps table he had ripped off the day before while everyone around him talked about the crime. "Maybe it was narcissistic, but I really enjoyed playing at that table," he says. Using the stolen chips, he gambled his way into a free $600-a-night suite and comped steak dinners. "I got to ... live the dream," he says. But after a few weeks of heavy gambling, drugging, and women (he dropped $5,000 at a strip club for a four-hour handjob), Carleo had a problem: He had used up his smaller chips and was left with more than $1 million in "cranberries," $25,000 chips he couldn't gamble without the casino getting suspicious. He knew he should get rid of them, "but who can throw away a million dollars?" Read the full story here to find out how those cranberries caused Carleo to crap out. (Read more Anthony Michael Carleo stories.)

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