Third video gaming bust in Catawba County, 47 machines seized

47 gambling machines seized in raid

CONOVER, NC (WBTV) - The crackdown continued against video gaming devices in Catawba County.

Ever since a judge lifted a preliminary injunction blocking police from seizing certain video machines, authorities in Hickory have made two busts and now Conover Police moved in on an operation as well.

That bust came Thursday morning at the so-called Spinners of Conover arcade on Fairgrove Church Road.

“We have had some complaints,” said Police Chief Eric Loftin.

When authorities moved in, the place was in operation and people were playing the games. Jennifer Lowman says she had just arrived and was startled when men in uniform came in.

“Police said everybody turn around and put hands up where we can see them,” she said.

Patrons at the arcade were free to go but a worker had to stay as authorities documented all the machines and took them apart for transport.

A total of 47 machines were in operation there, they said. Police believe they were computer driven games of chance that paid out cash to winners. That’s illegal in North Carolina.

Authorities say it’s not just about the gambling that concerns them about the video gaming operations.

“We’ve had instances of other unlawful activity at some places,” said Loftin.

Dwayne Hunsucker, who runs an auto sales lot next door, says drugs and trash are a problem around the arcade. He says he has found evidence of it in his own parking lot.

“We’ve had syringes on the ground and had dirty diapers thrown out over here.”

Meanwhile, Police said charges involving the gaming machines are pending. Authorities will consult with the District Attorney about it.

Copyright 2019 WBTV. All rights reserved.