Employees working at the Bellagio hotel and casino in Las Vegas were able to prevent a loss of nearly $115,000 after two men attempted to steal high-stakes chips using only pepper spray as their weapon. One of the two thieves has been captured and charged, but his accomplice remains on the loose.
According to the Las Vegas Sun, Michael Quinn Belton, 24, and a friend entered the Bellagio on Saturday night and went directly to the blackjack table. The two men, armed with pepper spray, grabbed several of the high-paying chips and attempted to spray the dealer and those at the table.
"The guy kept spraying and the thing wouldn't work," witness Richard Hauck told police. "The spray kept falling on the table."
When the spray finally did work, Hauck and others experienced an intense burning sensation. Floor supervisors noticed the commotion and were able to apprehend Belton, though his accomplice got away.
Police were able to recover the high-paying chips, which totaled $115,000. According to Belton, the plot for the robbery was not his but that of his accomplice, Carlos Rodriguez, whom he met after answering a Craigslist ad for a job repossessing cars.
Rodriguez then confessed his true intention to Belton and informed him "that he was a 'high roller' gambler in Las Vegas and would be able to later exchange the stolen chips for money, which he would split among the suspects," the arrest report noted.
Belton is currently being held on $60,000 bail and has been charged with two counts of robbery, one of burglary and one of conspiracy to commit robbery. Police are still investigating and attempting to locate others involved in the crime.
"Our guys are working very hard to try to get this solved," spokesman Jose Hernandez told the Sun.
The Bellagio, one of Las Vegas' most famous casinos was also the setting for the popular movie "Ocean's 11," which centered on a high-stakes robbery. Unlike the real-life attempt this weekend, a complex network of intelligence and planning led to a multi-million dollar payoff.