Bellagio Robbery Falls Short of Oceans 11 Status

Bellagio Robbery Falls Short of Oceans 11 Status

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 | By CasinoGuide

The movie Oceans 11 pretty much set the gold standard for casino heists - at least in fictional terms.

A pair of would-be thieves at the Bellagio in Las Vegas likely would have benefited from watching the flick a few times and taking copious notes.

The Bellagio isn't just a popular target in movies for thieves but in real life as well, as two men tried a grab-and-go robbery over the weekend of $115,000 in chips from a blackjack table.

One of the men -- who somehow later managed to elude security and escape -- sprayed the dealer in the face with a chemical while his partner in crime (who was wearing a wig and sunglasses) grabbed 23 $5,000 chips and ran.

As you might expect, security quickly captured the thief with the chips who struggled initially but resigned himself to his fate, only asking "How long am I going away for?" after being apprehended.

He was later identified as California resident Michael Belton, who claimed he was unemployed and desperate for cash to help his ailing grandparents.

Belton claimed to not know the identity of his partner in crime, who Belton said posted an ad online for a job working in Las Vegas as a repo man. When Belton arrived in Las Vegas expecting to be hired for that position he found out the man had another job in mind -- robbing the Bellagio.

The Bellagio is typically the scene of 10-15 similar crimes each year, most of the grab-and-dash variety. The most recent "successful" heist was in December 2010 when a man pulled a gun and made off with $1.5 million in casino chips, escaping on a motorcycle he'd left at a nearby valet area.

While he managed to escape with the chips he discovered that it was a little difficult to cash in $25,000 chips and resorted to trying to find buyers at online poker forums.

Someone who saw his ads tipped off the police, who pretended to be interested in buying the chips and nabbed the thief when he met them to conclude the deal.