Gambling machine raid at the thrift shop on Dawson Road

Photo Credit: Jessica Fairley

The Dougherty County District Attorney's Office raided "The Thrift Store" located at 2401-B Dawson Road for gambling.

Now officials are investigating the facility for having what they call illegal Vegas style gambling machines.

If one were to bypass the store, they may think it's a quaint business for buying clothes and other items, but nearby business owners say over the past few weeks there's been suspicious activity going on.

"It just didn't look right. You know if you go into a store you need to come out with some items. I mean if you go into Ole' Times and you don't come out with food, something's up," says BJ Fletcher, Owner of Cafà 230 and Ole' Times CafÃ.

After getting complaints from neighbors, officials went into the facility. Six machines were seized along with cash.

D.A Greg Edwards says the slots were sectioned off in the back of the building with chairs and refreshments to be sold.

"There were customers engaged in this operation. Those persons that were here have been interviewed and released at this time," says Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards.

The operations manager calls the raid a misunderstanding. He says the apparatuses are redemption machines used all over the county. He says when people win they are paid with a gift cards or merchandise.

"As long as you are in accordance with the law of how you pay out of redemption, the machines are legal to have," says James Epler Jr., the Operations Manager for the Thrift Store.

Some people think his thrift store is just a cover-up for the illegal activity going on in the back of the business but Epler denies those allegations.

"No no. That is just extra income that helps us sale our merchandise in the store," says Epler.

No one has been arrested but officials say arrest warrants will follow as the investigation continues.

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