One of the heist suspects is held to the ground after the robbery. (Courtesy of witness Brad Jackson)
Police arrested Michael Belton, 24. (LVMPD)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
A California man conspired with two others to rob the Bellagio of $115,000 in casino chips late Saturday night.
That's according to the arrest report for 24-year-old Michael Belton, who was tackled by two casino employees and arrested.
In the report, Belton told police he was brought in on the scheme by Carlos Rodriguez, a man he met in Las Vegas after responding to a Craigslist ad about a job repossessing cars.
Rodriguez arranged for Belton to rob the Bellagio with a third person, known only as "Carlos," police said.
After stealing the chips, Belton and "Carlos" were to hand them off to Rodriguez at a Mandalay Bay hotel room, according to the report.
Rodriguez was described as "high roller" who would later exchange the chips for cash.
Police said Belton and "Carlos" entered the Bellagio at about 10:45 p.m. and made their way to a blackjack table, where Belton grabbed 23 $5,000 chips and "Carlos" sprayed a chemical similar to pepper spray at a dealer and patron.
Belton was immediately grabbed by two floor supervisors, who wrestled him to the ground until he said, "I give up," according to the report.
"I see the pit boss grabbing a guy around the neck and putting him in a headlock," said witness Brad Jackson, who took a photo of the encounter.
When questioned by detectives, Belton reportedly claimed he took part in the robbery because he was unemployed and his grandparents were ill.
A guest named Carlos Rodriguez was checked into Mandalay Bay, police said, but he has not been located.
David Schwartz, director of UNLV's Center for Gaming Research, said even if the two men made it out of the casino, he doubts the scheme would've worked.
"If you're doing this with chips, you're always going to have to get those chips back to the casino, and there's really only one place where you can cash them in - which is a casino," he said. "So, that's usually what prevents most of these from working."
Jackson told FOX5 by phone Monday night that the altercation was over in a matter of a few minutes.
"The dealer got sprayed right in the face, and they took her to a room," he said. "We could see through the glass doors. They were taking care of her."
Jackson, who is from Texas, said he has been to Las Vegas 23 times, but never witnessed anything like this inside a casino.
"It's probably the most exciting thing I've ever seen in Las Vegas."
Michael Belton is currently being held at the Clark County Detention Center on $60,000 bail. He is charged with robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, and burglary.
Stay with FOX5 for updates to this developing story
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