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GIRARD A warning on games



Published: Mon, January 28, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



No charges have been filed, and the investigation continues.

GIRARD -- Police are cautioning fraternal organizations to be wary of nonprofit groups from out of town that approach them to rent facilities to conduct games of chance.

Capt. Frank Bigowsky said this morning that Chief Anthony Ross, who is on sick leave, saw a newspaper ad last week promoting a Las Vegas night for the weekend at the Girard Eagles on West Wilson Avenue.

The ad promoted free admission and games such as poker, blackjack, instant bingo and maverick, but it didn't list a charitable organization as the beneficiary of proceeds.

Ross asked police to investigate, Bigowsky said. Officers, along with agents from the Ohio Department of Public Safety's investigative unit went to the club Friday evening, asking to see the required permits.

The group conducting the Las Vegas Night was from Summit County. It appeared to have proper permits but was vague about the charitable organization involved, he said.

The group couldn't produce a copy of the contract for renting the hall, he said, and police closed the games.

Criminal backgrounds: The people operating the games, who Bigowsky declined to identify, have criminal backgrounds, the captain said. The Eagles asked the people not to return for the rest of the weekend.

"We want to thank the Girard Eagles for their cooperation," he said.

The people involved have nonprofit designation in the names of several organizations. "That raised enough suspicion for us to believe this is not on the up-and-up," Bigowsky said.

The group had contacted the Girard American Legion about renting that hall, Bigowsky said.

No charges have been filed; the investigation continues.

Bigowsky said fraternal organizations contacted by out-of-town groups about such games should contact police so background checks can be conducted.




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