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It so after the dust settled and I woke up the next day, I probably felt all the emotions. I was happy I had twenty k in my hand. Like that's a good thing. Disappointed that it wasn't more relative to.


What I had just lost.


I probably still had some disbelief that I had just done what I did. That was pretty far out of my normal behavior. But we did it. You know what I mean?


Apparently, a side effect of successfully robbing a casino is the hangover of mixed emotions the following day. After that, what prevailed wasn't relief at having gotten away with it. It wasn't paranoia brought on by the sheer insanity of what he had just done. No, Tony Carleo's mind emerged from the fog with one prevailing thought, figuring out the next, bigger, better casino to rob. And this one would be a score that, in theory, could solve all of his problems permanently. From wavelength and Pegalo pictures, this is the high roller heights. I'm your host, Chris Sims. Chapter three go time.


This is a channel eight special presentation. From the priceless art gallery to the picturesque italian shoreline, to the breathtaking fountains. From high rollers to romance, welcome to the Bellagio.


Over the years, I've visited the Bellagio numerous times on trips to Vegas. The first time it was an overwhelming, opulent structure, a maze of excess and opportunity. Today, however, it feels gaudy and dated, a concrete box next to the sleeker, more inviting glass structures that line the Strip. But in October of 1998, the opening of the Bellagio resort and casino represented a turning point for the city of Las Vegas. While the kitschy, bottom line driven casinos had dominated Vegas over the first decade of the new corporate era, the Bellagio's opening promised luxury, true luxury, an alien concept in the seedy adult fantasy land known as Sin City. At the cost of $1.6 billion, the Bellagio was once the most expensive resort of any kind ever built anywhere in the world. Which is exactly what owner Steve Wyn wanted it to be. It boasted a 150,000 square foot casino and about 4000 rooms spread across two towers and nearly 30 floors, a lush indoor botanical garden, a conservatory, a mall featuring internationally coveted designer brands and its own fine art gallery displaying works by masters like Matisse, Picasso, Renois, Monet and van Gogh. The largest glass sculpture in the world hangs above the lobby, a breathtaking collage of over 2000 colorful glass blown flowers.


But the Bellagio's most notable feature, even today, is its dancing fountains, synchronized geysers of water that put on a show two to four times an hour, every half day on the eight and a half acre manmade lake in front of the casino's facade on south Las Vegas boulevard. These fountains have been featured in just about every movie or television show set in Las Vegas, and they are just as much a part of the city's iconography as its flickering neon. Based on available figures and some very roughed out mathematics by our producers, the bellagio's casino was clearing well over a million dollars on an average day in late 2010. And that's on the lower end of our calculations. This behemoth, this symbol of Las Vegas luxury and wealth, this high class refuge for big spenders, would be Tony Carleo's next target. And he would rob it a mere five days after the suncoast.


I'm not sure exactly why I did the Blasio five days after the suncoast. I can't honestly tell you that I had even 100% made up my mind that I was going to do this again. But what kicked that ball past the goal line was the fact that I only got 18 or 19 grand from the suncoast. I was like, oh, I. I need to do that again.


While money was undoubtedly at the root of all of Tony's decisions, at this point, his full blown drug addiction was a close second, often driving and clouding many of his actions.


So the amount of drugs I was using was probably enough to kill a mule. There were OxyContin, 80 milligram pills, and I really only ingested, like, one or two of them, as they were intended, orally. The rest of them, I'm crushing them, grinding them up and snorting them, or smoking them off foilies to finish off what you couldn't get ground up. Little remnants of the pills. I needed to take care of the pain at the time. And then obviously, it just escalates as time goes on. The apex of my use, I was told I use between twelve and 1580 milligrams a day. To put that into perspective, if you were in severe pain or had some bad medical diagnosis, they might give you three or four of those in a 24 hours period. I was using between five and nine a day, I would say, and I'm crushing them up, snoring them in one dose. It's like they were coming out of a Pez dispenser. That wasn't sustainable. The number I was doing, I not only was addicted, like, chemically to them, but some of it was the ritual. There was a social aspect to it.


You have little drug friends and you kind of just get together, and that kind of became what you did with each other. There was a point. It was, like, probably one of the lower points during my addiction, I didn't have any, or I couldn't get them. And I tracked somebody down and had her sell me some heroin. And she actually told me, like, you don't want to do this. You know what I mean? And I was like, no, I'm sick. I need it. And it got to the point where I had it drawn up in a needle, and I had it in my arm, and it was such a disgusting sight. Like, looked like diarrhea water. And I was close to plunging that into my vein, and I just didn't. I'm very grateful that I didn't follow through with that. I pulled it out and shot it in the toilet and dealt with the discomfort until I could get some more pills. I spent so much time, energy, effort, just procuring the drugs. It was kind of a security thing. Like, if I didn't have 30 to 40 pills, I would start to get anxiety about it, you know what I mean?


Because I know at some point you're going to run out. I remember I was in UNLV's parking lot. It was before my biology final. I had, like, a b plus in the class, and I had a pretty good grasp on everything. I probably would have, at the very least, got a b on the final and been cool. I was in the parking lot doing oxy, like snoring them or doing whatever, and I nodded off, dude. I slept through my whole final. I flunked the whole fucking class because my dumb ass was in a parking lot, like, doing lines. And I was just like, God, dude, you're a fucking idiot. You know what I mean? So it just consumed me.


Mixed in with everything, with the greed, the chemicals, and the insatiable addiction was Tony's pride. He'd flunked out of med school, and that was supposed to be his fresh start. He'd lost tens of thousands of dollars gambling, a Las Vegas degenerate, like so many others wandering the Strip. The only thing he'd done right recently was rob a casino, which was no small feat.


The suncoast gave me the balls and the brazenness. It was so easy and simple. It was like a false sense of security to go ahead and do the Blasio robbery. I don't want to say I had a definitive plan. I just knew something was going to happen. I needed a few pieces to fall into place and was going to be go time.


Tony had been toying with robbing a casino for at least two months before hitting the suncoast. He had quietly cased just about every gambling establishment he visited in Vegas. A sort of secret hobby, compiling research in the event that this dark fantasy ever became a reality. And now, finally, he was putting it to use.


So when one is planning to rob a casino, you need to consider, like, logistics, right? Like the schematics and the layout and whatever you're going to rob or steal the distance to the exit. I'm not like a genius on any of this. It's just common sense. The cage is in the middle of the casino. That's probably a pretty good place to keep all your money. It's pretty far from any exit door. A lot of obstacles to get to before you get to there. I had a pretty elaborate, crazy plan where I was going to ride my motorcycle through the shops at the Venetian. I was going to ride into the actual casino. Like that was on my radar. And I don't think that would have been a very good idea. But it was on the to do list to the point where I actually walked through the property. And I even went as far as it was. So stupid. I went down to a Halloween store and bought the most ridiculous fake beard mask that I could find. I mean, I'm walking around the strip at four, five in the morning, and I went to go play poker, one of these places.


Of course they id me because I look like a psychopath. And I'm like, okay, well, that's out. Because now they have my id on the camera. The MGM is a nightmare getting in and out of there. There's a lot of variables when you're running from somebody on a motorcycle. I would imagine Caesar's was also not ideal. Their driveway is on the property a lot, right? You're going to be on Caesar's property for quite a bit. De Blagio worked because it had that little auxiliary entrance and exit and because it's proximity to the side street. Literally pull out of there and you're on a road. You don't have to drive up and down the strip and deal with all that nonsense. I ended up ultimately settling on the Bellagio because I love that. I love the place, the ambient, the smell. They have this flower smell in the air. It's a beautiful thing. A lot of action. Good players, good people, gorgeous cocktail waitresses. Kind of sad I can't go back there, but I don't think I'm welcome there anymore.


Tony was also wary of providing more evidence to investigators. With this second, more high profile robbery, the suncoast had generated virtually no public attention. Which to Tony, likely meant law enforcement wasn't putting a ton of resources into cracking the case. But the bellagio, he knew a robbery there would certainly garner attention. A lot of it.


So my first gun was pretty distinctive. It was a metal gun. It had a wooden handle and brass fittings. And it was a good looking gun. But you could definitely pick it out of a crowd if you had to. So I didn't want any similarities between the two jobs. Figured that's low hanging fruit.


Tony set out to buy a new gun. One which couldn't be traced or connected to him.


So let's go buy a gun in a parking lot at circus circus. Right? Like, who doesn't want to do that?


And that meant a visit to the underbelly of Las Vegas.


The dude I bought this gun from was. I can't tell you exactly how we met, but he was cool enough. He was in my phone, I knew him, and we partied a couple of nights. He was a gangbanger, dude. You know what I mean? I think he went by Deuce Deuce or Deuce three or something. I hit him up and I asked him if he had access to one, and he did. So I met at Circus Circus parking lot. That's probably not the only nefarious thing that goes down at Circus Circus parking lot. You've never bought a gun from a nondescript human being on a parking lot at a casino. You've never done that. You're missing out, man. You ain't living. I gave him for two, $300. I don't even know if it fired. Probably had bodies on it. Who knows, right?


The casing of casinos, figuring out access points to get in and out. Finding a hot gun. Those were the easy parts. But as was the case with the suncoast. Tony would need help to pull this off. So he turned to Kara Corenti, who at first thought Tony was full of shit.


Even after he told me he robbed the suncoast. I didn't believe it because it wasn't on the news. I mean, you'd have to be crazy to think that you could get away with something like that. I just thought he was talking a big game and just being stupid.


Once Kara realized he wasn't bluffing. She became involved in the preparations for the Bellagio heist.


It's a blur. I don't really remember much of it. He did have me help him with some things. He wanted to park his bike somewhere or something like that. And I was just along for the ride. I was watching him prepare for the robbery. I didn't realize that he was going to follow through. I was really fucked up at that time. I was really a disaster with the pills, and I wasn't thinking clearly. And I know that sounds like an excuse, but it's truth. I wasn't in reality at all. At all.


Perhaps Tony recognized this, so he recruited another set of eyes and ears, someone who had just as much to lose as he did if they got caught.


So there was a gentleman that helped me. He didn't play a big part, and I don't even think he believed that I was going to do this. I've never told anybody who he is. We'll call him Drew, though. And Drew was the boyfriend of a stripper who I met through a random stripper I picked up on the strip.


If you got lost there, that's okay. Let me walk you through this Vegas version of six degrees of separation. Drew, the pseudonym for Tony's accomplice in the Bellagio robbery, whom he has never revealed, was the boyfriend of a stripper who was friends with a stripper who Tony picked up on the strip a few months prior. Okay, Tony, carry on.


She was really fine. She was wearing a schoolgirl outfit, white stockings, up to the knees, the whole nine yards. She's walking down the strip, I'm in my lexus. I look over and holler at her and ask her if she needed a ride. Just expecting her to tell me to fuck off, and I'll be damned. She got in the car, dude. We messed around a little bit, did some drugs, and she'd asked me if I could get oxyContins. One of her friends wanted them. Hannah was her name. Her boyfriend's name will remain Drew. But Hannah was a exotic dancer, and Hannah basically supported my lifestyle. Right? So Hannah would go work her ass off for a day and a half, two days stripping, and she would get off work. She would blow me up at, like, three, four, five in the morning whenever she got off work, until I answered. Like, repetitive. Just calling and calling and calling. I would finally answer my phone, and she would literally bring me between $2,500 and $5,000 for pills. So this dude Drew would have to drive her happy ass just to go get these pills. That's how his and I relationship kind of got formed.


We spent quite a bit of time together, because that's what people do. They do drugs. You kind of gravitate toward each other. I just thought I could trust him. So we gave him the call to the bullpen and brought him in.


While Tony had revealed to Kara and Drew what he was planning to do, neither of them really thought he'd actually go through with it. But they also couldn't say no or didn't want to. After all, he was their steady supply of oxy.


So I actually had c go buy all this shit I needed at the store, right? Like gloves, duct tape. The phones gave her cash, so they really would have been hard to trace. So I went and bought two burner phones. I bought two Bluetooth headsets. I bought duct tape to tape my helmet up in a different color. I went and actually swapped shoes with him. I was wearing Drew's shoes because I didn't want my shoes on camera. Completely different, random wardrobe. Everything was different, right? So my car was at C's house, and I had my motorcycle. And I ended up going to Drew's house and just started getting geared up. I give him the phone, give him the bluetooth, plug each other's numbers into the burner phone. I had my helmet on when I was doing the crime, so all I wanted to do was hit my helmet, and it would dial the last number that was dialed. Prior to both crimes, I just tried to do the little things that would at least give me a chance to succeed, right? Like, I wiped the bullets down in the gun. I wiped the gun down itself.


I made sure I wore gloves. I didn't go as far as to shave my entire body, because that seemed a little much. But I did have multiple layers of clothes on and had the helmet on, and I wasn't too concerned about the hair. So I just tried to do everything that I could control to not get caught, because that was the goal.


Timing would also be key. The later the better, as there would be fewer people in the casino and fewer chances for unforeseen complications, like citizen vigilantes or crowds of tourists who could slow a quick getaway.


It's going to go down around two or three or four in the morning. That's usually the times that I had been there. I noticed the security was minimal. I remember before I left, I crushed up an 80 milligram oxy. Took that right down the hatch. I think I did a line of cocaine to get back up. And I hit my inhaler, because, again, I'm asthmatic, and we didn't want to have an asthma attack. I did some light stretching, too. There was a little bit more of a jog from the door to the crafts table at the blagio. I get on the bike. It's fucking 20 degrees in Vegas. I have to be the only asshole on a motorcycle in the city, right? There's nobody riding motorcycles at four or five in the morning when it's 20 degrees outside. It was cold. I didn't have a plate on the bike. I'm just doing my thing, going for a leisurely stroll on the motorcycle. I got the Richard Nixon mask on, in case any traffic cameras can see me. I'm not a crook type thing, because I had a clear visor. That's why I wear the mask.


I have drew leave 30 to 45 minutes ahead of me, right? And his objective was, I gave him. I think I give him 500 or $1,000. I told him to go sit down at a slot machine and just wait for me to call. Just act like he's belonged there. Get a drink, just fit in, right? Like, just. You're just some asshole playing slots at three in the morning in Vegas. So he did his thing. He pulled in, parked, went and played slots, and I'm doing my thing riding there. I had a weird, just, like, calmness and tranquility about me when I. On the ride over there. Despite being fucking 20 degrees outside and uncomfortable physically, I really didn't have the same apprehension that I had on the suncoast. I obeyed all the traffic laws on the way there. I didn't want any get pulled over for no plates on a motorcycle, anything like that. I was a little bit more matter of fact when I pulled up to the bellagio.


There are access points on all sides of the Bellagio. The one Tony strategically chose was just off of East Flamingo Road, a small, crescent shaped drive often meant for vip patrons being dropped off by private cars or limousines, allowing the most direct access to the high End luxury shops and high stakes poker rooms in the casino.


That was where I parked the motorcycle. I remember getting off, dropped a kickstand. I could kind of lean my bike over and rotate it around. So it was just leaning on the kickstand, and you just swing the ass end around. I actually left the key in the bike on purpose, so it was one less step I had to do. That was probably a mistake. In hindsight, somebody could have stole the bike. That would have been all bad. But I had a spare key on me, too, in case somebody took the key. I just figured I'd need to be getting out of there in a hurry once the shit hit the fan. I got off the bike, and I just hit the headset. And the phone rang and drew picked up and I'm like, what's it look like in there? And he said, it's something to the effect of, if you're going to do it, now's the time. And I said, okay, it's go time.


It's just past four in the morning on the 14 December in 2010, Antony Carleo is standing in the small crescent shaped valet driveway at the Bellagio resort in full motorcycle gear and helmet, backpack slung in front over his chest, a loaded pistol in his front zipper pocket. Inside the casino, a drug buddy turned accomplice is sitting at a slot machine, scouting the gaming floor and communicating with him via a bluetooth headset, which Tony had wired inside of his motorcycle helmet. He was about to cross the point of no return.


He said, if you're going to do it, now's the time. And I said, okay, it's go time. And I thought I hung up the phone like, I hit the headset. But in hindsight, I found out that I didn't hang up the phone.


With his accomplice still listening in, Tony started walking up the driveway. It was time to rob the largest casino in the world.


I walked up the circular driveway. There's a little female security guard. They have a little guard booth off to the right there. I remember waving to her. There was a dude talking on his cell phone, like, pacing back and forth in front of the doors. And I'm a nice guy, so I hold the door open for him and he walks right by me. I think he even said, thank you. We're inside. I go right ahead of me is a cartier store, which was on my to do list. Once you make that right hand turn, you kept going straight. You'd run right into the poker room that was also on the to do list. And then to the left, there's this main walkway. That main walkway leads to the center of the casino and where the cage was, which, coincidentally, was where the crafts table was. So I took that right, and then.


I hugged the wall to anyone on the floor or to any casino security watching the cameras, they would have seen a figure in a full motorcycle jumpsuit and helmet now easing along the wall. Something that should raise red flags to even the most casual observer. But at the hour of four in the morning, in middecember of 2010, when security had been cut back due to the recession, America now found itself in. No one was watching.


Drew told me there was maybe 1520 patrons on the casino floor. I don't remember seeing any other security personnel other than the guard shack gal that I saw when I first walked in, I had my left hand on the firearm. There was two stick men. The guys using the sticks on the craps table, a boxman and a pit boss. I think there was like maybe four guys shooting craps. And it was the only action there. It was like dead, right, especially for the bellagio. And it was just simple and methodical, man. Like, once I got parallel to the crabs table, I made a right hand turn and I walked up to the back of the table. I said, move. Move. The only person that got hurt in this whole thing was somebody that did a fucking unnecessary barrel roll to get out of the way. Like in maybe watch too many action movies or something. And I'm just there doing my thing, shoveling these casino chips in my little backpack pouch. The ones I wanted were 5000. And he got one thousand s and got five hundred s. And he got hundreds and he got twenty five s.


Five s and ones. They're pretty organized. They're deep. There had to be four or $5 million. Most of that dollar amount being in the $25,000 chips. I accidentally grabbed the $25,000 chips. A lot of people said I shouldn't have taken them. Yeah, no shit. I know they're no good. I should have been more methodical. But that adrenaline kicks him in and you're just like, everybody has a plan till they get punched in the mouth. And that adrenaline really punched me in the mouth. Once I grab all the chips, I just turn around and book it. Fight or flights kicked in. I'm not fast, so I know I have to get a head start. Somebody might chase me if I had my way that night. I was going to make a pit stop in the poker room because the amount of money is pretty significant. Then on the way out the door, they have the Cartier jewelry store. And I was going to grab some jewelry. None of those things happened. I was running. I got this fucking Richard Nixon mask on. I can barely breathe. Everybody's seen the footage of me running down the corridor, I think, in and out.


I was like three minutes and 58 seconds it. And by that time, they had to have gotten on the radio. Police probably had already been called. The valet attendant, he thought it would be a good idea to get in between me and my motorcycle. I pointed the gun at him and I said, move. And he's like, don't do it, man. Don't do it. He got the fuck out of the way and started the bike up, and I was out of there. If I went east, it takes me right to the strip, and that's the opposite direction, you know, I want to go west. And, man, that shit really got weird from there.


Speeding down I ten with over a million dollars in stolen Bellagio chips in his backpack, Tony Carleo was suddenly the most wanted man in Las Vegas. Now, of course, he just had to get away.


There was a moment where I'm at a stoplight. I'm in the left hand turn lane, and on my left is a police officer.


4972 west.


I'm just waiting for him to make a move. He's probably waiting for me to make a move. I'm just sitting there like this. Got my turn signal on. Just some dude on a bike, man, you know what I mean? Like, pay me no attention.


That's next time on the high roller heist. This episode of the High Roller Heist was created and produced by Eli Chorus and Joshua Schaefer of Pegalo Pictures and executive produced by Jason Hoke of Waveland. Written by Eli Chorus, edited by Joshua Schaefer. Hosted and co produced by me, Chris Sims. Co produced with interviews recorded by Nicholas Sinakas. Theme music and score by Josh at Cleave, with sound design and sound mixing by Craig Plackey and host narration recorded by David Custard at CCM Studios in Denver, Colorado. A special thanks to the Denver Chop house and Brewery. Thanks again for listening, and don't forget to follow or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and leave a review.