Clayton County raid nets illegal gambling machines

By Ed Brock

Agents with the Clayton County Sheriff's Office and Drug Task Force arrested two people and seized 11 video poker machines in a raid on a Jonesboro shop on Friday.

Deborah Ann Wooten, 50, of Jonesboro, owner of Debbie's Games and Gifts at 8274B Tara Boulevard, and an employee of the store, 58-year-old Charlie Lee Tiner of Jonesboro were arrested after the agents served a search warrant at the store Friday afternoon. They have been charged with commercial gambling, Clayton County Sheriff Stanley Tuggle said.

"We received information through the city of Jonesboro Police Department," Tuggle said. "Working with them we sent undercover agents in. They played the video games and after they did that for a little while the attendant paid them in cash."

After the agents went to the store again and were again paid in cash the task force decided to raid the store.

Inside the front room of the store was a small desk for the attendant, a soda vending machine and shelves of merchandise such as dolls. The games were in a back room but the doorway to that room had no door, making the games visible from the front.

"They also said they were giving out gift certificates but we didn't find any whatsoever," Tuggle said.

The owner of the Fade-A-Way Cutz Barber Shop next door to the shop, Dean A. Lewis, said he had no idea what was happening in the store.

"I never had a chance to go in there," Lewis said. "I haven't really seen a lot of traffic. I just knew they were open 24 hours."

Though the video poker machines can still be found at some gas stations and other businesses in the state, Tuggle said they are all illegal.

"The people who lease these machines are convincing people that they're legal and they aren't," Tuggle said.

Tuggle say they usually act when they have information that the owner of the machine is paying off customers in cash, making for a felony case of commercial gambling.