By William R. Toler
Sounds horrible, right?
Mainstream news accounts read something more like this: Police and deputies seized numerous illegal gambling machines from businesses across Pitt County in a morning raid called “Operation Pot of Gold.”
That makes it all better, right? Not for the business owners.
The people calling themselves the State of North Carolina have taken it upon themselves, allegedly at the will of the people, to declare certain types of machines “illegal.” Therefore, those sworn to uphold the law, took it upon themselves to rid the county of the scourge of gambling.
Unless, of course, that gambling pertains to the state-sanctioned “Education” Lottery.
Local media outlets had a frontrow seat for this show of force against these brazen store owners who dared to try and fill a void in the market by providing a service that customers wanted as they were on a ride-along, capturing the confiscation on video.
Not all machines were seized, because law enforcement believes some are “in compliance” with the current, rigid guidelines.
The top two LEOs were unapologetic about the actions of their agents.
“When we stop in a convience store and purchase something…, I sit there and have to see the video machine in front of me,” Sheriff Neil Elks told WCTI-12. “It’s like we walk in a room and somebody’s smoking a joint. It’s like am I gonna turn my head, or am I gonna do something about it.”
Either way, it’s a victimless crime.
At the time of the intial report (Jan. 7), LEOs were “combing through the evidence” to see if the owners of the machines would face charges.
So…they steal the property first, then try and figure out which laws, if any, have been broken. That’s nice.
“There’s guns, there’s money, there’s unknown other people inside these locations,” said Greenville Police Chief Hassan Aden.
Greenville is a dangerous city, with a high crime rate. Any store owner would be daft not to have a gun to protect themselves from thieves. As for the money, store owner’s should keep money on hand to pay out the prizes to their customers. I’m not quite sure what he means by “unknown other people.” Aren’t most people unknown to LEOs, hence their instance on demanding identification everytime they come into contact with someone?
This operation was a Pot of Gold for the agents. Pitt County deputies “seized” $33,185.33 from 22 businesses. The police department did not disclose the amount of cash, or number of firearms stolen by its agents. Both departments walked away with a total of 95 machines.
All this, because men in suits 100 miles away said that an inanimate object is “illegal.”
There are enough real crimes in Pitt County to keep LEOs busy without having to hassle store owners about machines that individuals can choose whether or not to use.
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