Gambling machines, cash seized from store

Richmond County Sheriff's Office investigators seized three gambling machines and $100,000 cash today from a Tobacco Road convenience store.

An anonymous tip started a two-month investigation into the machines at the First Stop in the 2700 block of Tobacco Road and led to Friday's arrest of Vijay Patel, the clerk and owner at the store, said Investigator Tony Hyatt.

Patel is charged with commercial gambling, possession of a gambling device and keeping a gambling place.

Hyatt said customers put money into the machines, which were in plain sight, and any winnings were printed on a receipt, which Patel then honored with cash. An undercover investigation confirmed the payouts, Hyatt said.

Hyatt said there are other stores in Richmond County with gambling machines they plan to target.

"Hopefully this sends a message," Hyatt said. "We'll be knocking on their door next."

 

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