Authorities seize 300 illegal video gaming machines, $10,000 in currency during raid

Authorities seize 300 illegal video gaming machines, $10,000 in currency during raid

BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WECT) - State and local authorities have arrested three people and charged four others following a raid of illegal video game parlors in Bladen County on Thursday.

“This is the largest gaming parlor bust in more than 10 years in Bladen County,” said Sheriff Jim McVicker.

According to a news release, agents with the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office, State Bureau of Investigation, Alcohol Law Enforcement, and Bladenboro Police Department executed search warrants at four businesses in the county:

  • Freddy’s on Elm Street - 104 N. Elm Street in Clarkton
  • Klix 211 Arcade - 4517 N.C. Hwy 211 West in Bladenboro
  • 701 Sweepstakes - 2673 Hwy 701 North in Elizabethtown
  • Jewels Sweepstakes - 110 Seaboard Street in Bladenboro

Authorities seized approximately 300 video gaming machines and $10,000 in U.S. currency. McVicker said this operation was sparked by citizen complaints.

“One parlor was less than 300 feet from a daycare, and several parlors even had armed guards outside and numerous locks on the doors," McVicker said. "Unless you have something illegal going on, why would you need all that?”

Over the course of six weeks, undercover ALE agents went to four different parlors to play the games to determine if they were illegal based on the software being used, according to authorities.

“We were very methodical in the way we conducted this," McVicker said. "We had been through this before. We knew what was coming. I won’t tolerate this. This is a clear violation of the law.”

(Source: SBI/Facebook)
(Source: SBI/Facebook)

A knock and talk was also conducted at Aladdin Sweepstakes at 29 Third Street in Dublin. Pursuant to an agreement with the District Attorney’s Office, owner Jeff Smith will cease operations and not reopen anywhere within Bladen, Columbus, or Brunswick counties.

“We have been working with our state representative William Brisson and other legislators as well as the Attorney General’s Office to shut these illegal operations down for good,” said McVicker. "There is new, stronger legislation being introduced to address this issue and more clearly define what is and what is not allowed, which will make enforcement much easier and strengthen the penalties.”

Steven R. Lovin, left, Steven M. Lovin, middle, and Cynthia Duncan (Source: Bladen Co. Sheriff's Office)
Steven R. Lovin, left, Steven M. Lovin, middle, and Cynthia Duncan (Source: Bladen Co. Sheriff's Office)

The following individuals were arrested:

  • Steven Ray Lovin, of Lumberton, was charged with two counts of gambling, two counts of operating video gaming machines, two counts of possession of five or more video gaming machines, promote, operate, or conduct a server-based game, possessing illegal video gaming terminals, and operating electronic sweepstakes. He was given a $50,000 bond.
  • Steven Mark Lovin, of Lumberton, was charged with two counts of gambling, two counts of operating video gaming machines, two counts of possession of five or more video gaming machines, promote, operate, or conduct a server-based game, possessing illegal video gaming terminals, and operating electronic sweepstakes. He was given a $100,000 bond.
  • Cynthia Dawn Duncan, of Clarkton, was charged with three counts of gambling, three counts of operating video gaming machines, three counts of possession of five or more video gaming machines, two counts of promote, operate, or conduct a server-based game, two counts of possessing illegal video gaming terminals, and four counts of operating electronic sweepstakes. She was given a $15,000 bond.

Daniel James Storie, of Mooresville, Daniel Paul Storie, of Asheboro, and James Hubert Ross Jr., of Bladenboro, are all wanted on similar charges. If you have any information on their whereabouts, call the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office at 910-874-0656.

Authorities also issued multiple criminal summonses to an unspecified member of Vapes Enterprise LLC of Raleigh for three counts of gambling, three counts of operating video gaming machines, three counts of possession of five or more video gaming machines, two counts of promote, operate, or conduct a server-based game, two counts of possessing illegal gaming terminals, and four counts of operating electronic sweepstakes

Additional arrests are expected.

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