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May 25, 2018

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Citizenship a question for pig-mask suspect in heist at Bellagio


John Locher / AP

Sebastian Gonzalez, right, appears in court, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, in Las Vegas. Gonzalez is accused of a smash-and-grab burglary at a luxury watch and jewelry store last weekend at a Las Vegas Strip resort.

Updated Wednesday, March 29, 2017 | 12:08 p.m.

A man accused of wearing a pig mask during last Sunday’s robbery at the Bellagio was born in California, but allegedly traveled from his home in Mexico City to participate in the break-in, an attorney said this morning in court.

Sebastian Gonzalez, 20, stared with his head down at the ground as an interpreter relayed the words of Justice of the Peace Eric Goodman from English to Spanish this morning in Las Vegas Justice Court. Gonzalez said he understood the charges of burglary with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery against him, and agreed to a preliminary court hearing on April 11.

Outside the court room, prosecutor John Giordani of the Clark County District Attorney’s office said despite a Metro Police report showing Gonzalez’ place of birth as Los Angeles, he may actually be from Mexico. Giordani said the investigation into Gonzalez’ birthplace and residency is “ongoing.”

Gonzalez told police he was forced to help break into the high-end Tesorini jewelry store by men who threatened to hurt his family in Mexico. He said he traveled from Mexico City to Las Vegas under orders from men who threatened to harm his family if he didn’t participate in the robbery, according to a police report.

The men forced him to wear a pig mask because he was fat, Gonzalez allegedly told police.

Gonzalez and three other men wearing animal masks used sledgehammers to break into the store just after 12:45 a.m., grabbing expensive jewelry, police said. The store was closed.

While the other three men escaped on foot, Gonzalez became fatigued and tried to hide in the parking garage, police said. He was the only one captured.

Gonzalez said he was provided with fake ID and that the group was given masks and fake guns, the report said. Gonzalez said they were told to take high-value watches that would be sold in Mexico for $2 million, according to police.

The getaway plan involved heading to California by bus and then on to Mexico, police said

Parts of the Bellagio, including the parking garage, were temporarily locked down.

Another witness led officers to Gonzalez, who initially indicated he didn’t know how to speak English, but by the time police were done interviewing him was speaking “competent” English, the report said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report