Think of Vegas casino heists and you’ll probably think of Ocean’s Eleven; suave charmers, slick suits, smooth operators, that kind of thing. You probably wouldn’t think of a borderline retarded simpleton, from a sleepy California desert town, and two imaginary accomplices who ‘met’ on Craigslist, and hit the Las Vegas strip armed with nothing more than a malfunctioning can of pepper spray.
Introducing the star of the show, Michael Belton, who was 24 at the time of the incident in 2012, and a resident of the desert backwater known as Neuvo, in Riverside County, California. Apparently, according to the interrogation obtained by the Las Vegas Sun, from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, Michael claimed that he, and another dude, were recruited, via Craigslist – that beacon of moral integrity – by a man named ‘Carlos Rodriguez’, to hold up a blackjack table at the Bellagio, swipe as many chips as possible and leg it. Mr Rodriguez, a “self-described high roller”, was then going to nonchalantly exchange the huge pile of chips for cash at the casino. Simple yeah, I mean what could possibly go wrong?
The hapless Belton, ‘and his partner’, managed to find the Bellagio, and made it as far as the blackjack table, before things descended into chaos. Richard Hauck, a visitor from Ohio, who was at the table with his wife, described the scene thus: “The guy kept spraying and the thing wouldn’t work,” – referring to the can of pepper spray, “The spray kept falling on the table.” Belton, going full retard, did manage to grab 23 chips, each worth $5,000, and made it at least several feet from table, before being tackled to the floor by a member of staff. Security arrived shortly afterwards and Belton was duly handed over to the LVMPD.
The facts that only Belton was caught and arrested, even though the whole thing was witnessed by many people, does strongly suggest that his ‘accomplices’ may have been residing in his head. As does the fact that both the ‘high roller’ and the ‘pepper spray’ man were called ‘Carlos’, according to an obviously creatively-challenged, Belton. Further evidence of Belton’s self-delusion was, apparently, available on MySpace, where Belton listed his interests as “4×4, the river, chillin with friends u know shit like that” and his hero was “me, me, and i think….. me.” Yes, shocking I know, he was still using MySpace in 2012!
The moral of the story: don’t try holding up casinos with only pepper spray and imaginary friends.