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Police Impersonators Steal Gambling Machines

Aug 4, 2007
Author: Catrina Rudd
Two men, posturing as police officers, have stolen a number of electronic poker machines from convenience stores across North Texas. They walked into stores, told cashiers and attendants the machines were unlawful and pretended to impound them, police say.

Dallas police filed a theft charge against one of the suspects Tuesday night, however they have asked that his name be withheld to avoid endanger the continuing investigation. The man was arrested on an outstanding theft warrant out of Collin County, Texas.

John LeBlanc spoke to another reporter about his experience with the imposters. John LeBlanc was working the register at the Mobil gas station at Garland Road and Lochwood Boulevard in the White Rock area when the impostors appeared on July 22. He was busy attending customers when the impostors explained to him that because his video poker machines paid out real money, they were illegal and would have to be confiscated. Video poker machines are illegal when they pay out cash.

"They started playing with my mind," Mr. LeBlanc said. One of the men carried handcuffs, acted very authoritative, wore a T-shirt with a police logo and fiddled with a radio of unknown nature. Mr. LeBlanc gave the impostor his boss's phone number. "I was stupid enough to let him use the telephone," the 46-year-old said. The intruder pulled the plug from the wall. Then his partner, who had a dolly, began hauling the machines toward their pickup.

Mr. LeBlanc said he recognize something was wrong and attempted to stop the men, but one tried to handcuff him. "I yanked my hands away and called the police," Mr. LeBlanc said. "I should have called the police much earlier."
The police arrived a few minutes after the man and his partner left.

The Dallas police say Mr. LeBlanc is not alone in falling for the scam. The same men in all probability robbed game machines from seven other stores across Dallas, Lewisville Arlington and Crandall, said Detective Craig Johnson. "Probably a whole lot more."

The string of thefts may possibly have begun in 2006, the detective said. "He's smooth, slick, whatever you want to call it," the detective spoke of the man they arrested. Police have yet to make other arrests.

The machines could potential be worth as much as several thousand dollars in good condition. The police are uncertain as to what the intention is with the machines. "This is not something you can get rid of real quick," the detective said.

The man arrested was being held Wednesday in the county jail on the Dallas theft charge, as well as the Collin County charge in addition to a charge of impersonating a police officer out of Kaufman County.

There are several other counties in contact with the Dallas Police department with regards to this case. As they continue to piece it together, details will be release as the need arises.

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