Illegal gambling devices seized

Posted By | April 18, 2002 12:00 am

Dawn Bailey
Authorities worked together to seize illegal gambling devices on Wednesday. “We are working with the District Attorney’s Office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation,” said Sheriff Guy Goff.
Members of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and the White County Sheriff’s Dept. seized illegal gambling devices from several White County businesses. This operation was the result of a recent Supreme Court decision in the case of State of Tennessee vs. Rhonda Burkhart which declared certain video devices are deemed to be illegal gambling devices. Under Tennessee state law, it is illegal to possess gambling devices.
TBI members and White County deputies arrived at Lazy Day’s Deli & Food Mart at 645 McMinnville Highway on Wednesday morning and seized an illegal gambling device. Other locations containing illegal gambling devices included, but were not limited to, Webb’s Package Store at 1894 McMinnville Highway and Keith’s Market on McMinnville Highway.
Prior to Wednesday’s operation, a county-wide survey was completed by the participating agencies identifying the locations of these machines. Each business was contacted by letter, made aware of the law and requested to voluntarily dispose of the machines. Many of the businesses complied. Those involved in Wednesday’s operation did not comply. Citations were issued charging illegal possession of gambling devices.
The Supreme Court and state legislature have expressed a clear intent these machines are illegal. It is the intent and directive of the District Attorney General’s Office, TBI, White County Sheriff’s Dept., Sparta Police Dept. and other participating law enforcement agencies that these laws be consistently enforced. The investigation is considered open and on-going and locations will be visited often in the future to ensure compliance. Anyone having information regarding the location of video poker machines, video slot machines or other suspected gambling devices are requested to contact one of the above agencies.
– Hot brakes on Venture Express
The Sparta Fire Dept. responded to the scene of a tractor trailer fire on Bockman Way on Friday. According to Fire Chief Ed Kay, the truck had used his brakes while coming down the mountain. Due to a heavy load, the brakes got extremely hot and caused them to ignite fluids and smoke heavily.
The 1994 Volvo truck, owned by Venture Express, was driven by Melron Richardson. At approximately 10:30 a.m., April 12, 2002, seven firefighters responded to the scene and found heavy smoke. Firemen used Co2 to extinguish the fire. According to authorities, Richardson pulled the tractor trailer off of the roadway and was able to let the truck cool down. Once the vehicle cooled down, Richardson continued on to his original destination.
– Man fled scene of broken gas line
Authorities responded to the scene of an accident where a vehicle hit a gas main off of County Club Road.
At approximately 5:44 p.m., Tuesday, Deputy Charles Dennis of the White County Sheriff’s Dept. received a call in reference to the gas main broken on Cherokee Circle. Upon his arrival, the Sparta Fire Dept. advised him someone had hit the main and left the scene.
Dennis was advised where the subject lived. Upon arrival to the residence, Dennis spoke with a female who lived at the residence. She gave the deputy permission to look in the residence for Michael Jerry Mott, 35, of Sparta.
Authorities did not find Mott inside the home and began to search the area around the residence. Authorities found Mott lying in a fence row about 200 yards from the residence.
According to the report, Dennis could smell a strong odor of alcohol on Mott. When Mott was asked how much he had to drink, he advised authorities he could not remember. When asked if he remembered hitting the gas main and he allegedly said, “Yes.” Dennis attempted to give Mott a sobriety test which he could not perform. Mott was taken into custody and transported to the emergency room where he took a blood test. Deputy Christopher E. Bennett and Deputy Lester Dolente were also on the scene and lent their assistance.
– Purse stolen from Justice Center parking lot
Authorities took a report in reference to a purse and wallet being taken from a vehicle parked at the White County Justice Center on Tuesday morning.
According to the report, Donna Howell, of Sparta, did not take her purse into the Justice Center with her, but locked it in her vehicle at approximately 9:45 a.m.
Howell returned to her vehicle at approximately 12:30 p.m. and found her vehicle was still locked, but the purse and wallet were missing. Chief Jeff Guth said there was cash and a necklace also missing. The estimated value of loss was $500.

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