Casino Robber Used Prosthetic Mask to Steal Over $100,000

  • John Christopher Colletti was arrested in Kansas and is waiting to be brought back to Michigan
  • He is facing charges for stealing the identities of VIP casino players and withdrawing their money
  • Colletti allegedly used a prosthetic mask to disguise himself as an elderly man
Closeup of man in handcuffs
A man who robbed over $100,000 from casino players was allegedly wearing a prosthetic mask to help disguise his true identity. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Facing charges

A man who was using prosthetic face masks and other tools to disguise himself as an old man while stealing over $100,000 from casino patrons is facing federal charges. 55-year-old John Christopher Colletti was arrested in Kansas, where he remains without bond until he can be brought to Michigan.

A 17-page criminal complaint and affidavit were unsealed on Thursday in a Detroit federal court. In the affidavit, FBI Special Agent Julia MacBeth alleges that Colletti ran a scheme to steal the identities of his victims by purchasing their personal info online and creating fake driver’s licenses.

he used prosthetic face masks, glasses, surgical masks, and hats to hide his identity

He specifically targeted casino goers who were part of a VIP program that allowed them to get cash advances through kiosks inside casinos. Because the kiosks are watched closely by CCTV cameras, Colletti used disguises.

It is believed that he used prosthetic face masks, glasses, surgical masks, and hats to hide his identity. Colletti allegedly stole $98,840 from at least ten victims between April and May 2019 at the MGM Grand Detroit.

The crimes

Security footage allegedly shows Colletti going into the MGM Grand on May 23, 2019 wearing a dark cap, sunglasses, and a prosthetic mask to make himself look like an old man. Within half an hour, he had made 15 cash withdrawals totaling $30,000 before he took a cab to the Pegasus Tavern restaurant in Greektown. He went into the restaurant’s restroom and emerged about ten minutes later, no longer wearing a disguise. 

As per the casino footage, Colletti was inserting fake driver’s licenses of each victim into the kiosks from which he withdrew money. He would then look at a piece of paper that likely held the last four numbers of the victim’s social security number, as this info was needed to finish a transaction.

The arrest

Colletti was arrested on March 12 for identity theft at the Prairie Band Casino in Kansas by the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribal Police.

Investigators noticed similarities between the MGM Grand cases and Colletti’s activity in Kansas.

He had been seen dressed as an elderly man using a walker while withdrawing over $20,000 in cash from kiosks at the casino. Investigators noticed similarities between the MGM Grand cases and Colletti’s activity in Kansas. 

After security officers questioned him about his reason for withdrawing so much cash, Colletti went to the restroom, where he took off the disguise and then left the casino. Authorities found $11,000 cash, the walker, clothes, and a couple of Michigan driver’s licenses in the restroom.

The licenses had pictures of a man wearing a prosthetic face mask along with personal information of two of the victims. Attached to each ID was a sticky note containing the social security number and telephone number of the victim.

The evidence

When he was arrested, Colletti had two more counterfeit driver’s licenses on him, as well as $16,000 cash. There were four prosthetic masks and a straw hat with a black ribbon on it found in his rental car. The hat was the same one seen in the MGM Grand footage.

Investigators also found 83 driver’s licenses, 14 insurance cards, financial transaction records from the MGM Grand, and books about how to get away with crimes. A recovered flash drive contained forgery documents and money counterfeiting tutorials.