Hardeeville police confiscate poker machine, alcohol in sweep

rlurye@islandpacket.comDecember 17, 2013 

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Employees of three stores and one restaurant in Hardeeville have been cited for illegal practices, including having a poker machine, following a citywide inspection in November by police.

Officers planned the sweep of about 20 businesses after complaints that at least one owner had an illegal gambling machine and others were selling alcohol to minors, Lt. Arnold Middleton said.

The Citgo on Whyte Hardee Boulevard received a $500 fine for possession of a video poker machine, Middleton said.

"I wasn't expecting to walk in the door and have it slap you in the face," he said of the poker machine. "I thought it'd be hidden away somewhere."

Poker machines were banned in 2000 in South Carolina.

A clerk and customer of the Citgo also were charged with illegal possession of alcohol, and the store received a citation for reportedly distributing liquor on a Sunday, Middleton said. Any fine will be up to a municipal judge.

Police also checked stores' compliance with alcohol laws by sending a minor in to try to buy beer. As a result, officers charged a clerk at E-Z Shop on U.S. 278 and a clerk at the Marathon on Whyte Hardee Boulevard with selling alcohol to a minor.

Officers also charged a waitress at Los Angeles on Whyte Hardee Boulevard with transferring beer to a minor. The woman reportedly gave the teenager a drink but did not include it on his receipt, Middleton said.

The inspection of the Citgo station resulted in a spin-off investigation by state authorities.

While four police officers were in the station on Nov. 10, Hardeeville City Councilman Sal Arzillo tried to enter, allegedly interfering with the police operation. The case was turned over to State Law Enforcement Division, and its investigation continues.

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

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