Police shut down Ft. Oglethorpe gambling operation - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Police shut down Ft. Oglethorpe gambling operation

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CATOOSA COUNTY, GA. (WRCB) -- Police in North Georgia put a stop to an illegal gambling operation at a Ft. Oglethorpe business. Investigators seized multiple gambling machines from the Puff 'N' Stuff 69 shop on Lafayette Road.

"It's been operating out of this business where they play on video gambling devices, and then payoff their customers in cash, which is violation of Georgia law," says Lt. Steve Blevins.

Ft. Oglethorpe Police pounced on the Puff 'N' Stuff 69 shop Monday afternoon with a warrant. Investigators have been keeping a close eye on the business.

"We had a previous complaint in reference to the gambling operation in the business. We've also dealt with this business over synthetic marijuana," says Blevins.

City workers loaded up the truck with several video gambling machines.

"We had seven in here today in operation," he says. "We know folks of losing hundreds of dollars on those machines."

Blevins says it's a crime law enforcement can't turn a blind eye to.

"They're like spring daisies. You know, when you cut the grass and it rains, and they start popping up. You let one operate, then another comes and another one comes."

"I've been in there, bought cokes, and I've seen the machines. I knew they were doing that," says Richard Hickman.

Hickman owns a business a few doors down and says Puff 'N' Stuff always had a steady flow of customers.

He says while he's glad police are doing their job, he doesn't see why it's such a big deal.

"To me, gambling is gambling whether it's the lottery or a machine," says Hickman.

"If people want to gamble, they need to go the legislature and get a law passed so they can gamble," says Blevins.

The manager of the shop, Amy Panchal, was arrested and faces a felony charge of running a commercial gambling operation.

Investigators say they'll be reviewing surveillance video from the shop to track down those who were using the machines. They're urging those people to step forward and serve as witnesses in the case.

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