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Arrest made in Bellagio casino robbery; suspect is son of local judge

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Arrest in Bellagio casino robbery
  • NEW: The suspect's name is Anthony Assad; he also goes by the name Anthony Carleo
  • The suspect's father is a judge who says he is "devastated and heartbroken"
  • Assad, 29, was arrested in connection with the Las Vegas heist
  • He was charged with three counts, including robbery with a deadly weapon, after stealing $1.5 million in casino chips

(CNN) -- A Las Vegas judge whose 29-year-old son was arrested in the December robbery of Las Vegas' Bellagio casino said he is "devastated and heartbroken" but that "people who break the law need to be held accountable."

Police said Thursday that Anthony Assad -- also known as Anthony Carleo -- allegedly entered the casino wearing a motorcycle helmet and carrying a gun, and left with $1.5 million in casino chips.

Assad was arrested Wednesday on three counts, including robbery with use of a deadly weapon, burglary with use of a deadly weapon and trafficking of a controlled substance, Las Vegas Sheriff Douglas C. Gillespie said.

Assad's father, Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge George Assad, said Thursday in a written statement: "I think it goes without saying that as a father, I am devastated and heartbroken to see my son arrested under these circumstances, as is the rest of his family."

The elder Assad added that as a judge he cannot comment on the charges but, "I can say that as a prosecutor and a judge, I have always felt people who break the law need to be held accountable."

Police have not made other arrests in connection with the theft, but are continuing their investigation, Gilliespie said.

The suspect is thought to have ridden to the Bellagio -- one of Las Vegas' most recognizable casinos -- on a motorcycle on December 14, police said.

With a helmet and visor hiding his face, the robber walked inside and pulled a gun at a craps table where several people were gambling, Lt. Clint Nichols of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said at the time.

The robber told everyone not to move, then took the casino's supply of chips "that were ... [in] the box they keep on the craps table," Nichols said. The robber then allegedly ran back out to the motorcycle and rode away.

Authorities said at the time the gunman might have been the same person who robbed the Suncoast Hotel & Casino earlier in December. In that robbery, a man wearing a motorcycle helmet robbed the cage area of a poker tournament room of less than $20,000, police said.

The Suncoast casino is about a 20-minute drive northwest of the Bellagio, the Las Vegas Strip casino that is renowned in part for a huge fountain that shoots water 240 feet into the air, choreographed to music.

Police released surveillance images of both robberies, as well as surveillance video of the suspect running through the Bellagio. The Bellagio images show a man wearing a black helmet with white stripes, a black down jacket, black pants and gloves, police said. The Suncoast images show the robber wearing a silver helmet and dark clothes.

Nichols said he believes the chips taken in the Bellagio robbery ranged in value from $100 to $25,000. The higher-value chips are harder to convert, he said. "The industry has some safeguards in place that make that ... extremely difficult."

"We were pleased to be able to assist and support Metro detectives in developing their case and ultimately apprehending a suspect," said Alan Feldman, senior vice president of public affairs for MGM Resorts. "We will continue to provide whatever support needed for a successful prosecution."

CNN's Scott Thompson and Jason Hanna contributed to this report.