In the early morning hours of Thursday, December 13th, a Hanahan restaurant was raided by Charleston County, South Carolina deputies. A total of 34 poker machines and $400,000 in cash were seized by police, and the 81-year old restaurant owner and two employees were arrested.
The raid was reported to have followed a four-month investigation that focused on Pappy’s in which gambling machines have been found twice before. Gambling machines were banned in South Carolina on July 1, 2001.
Restaurant owner Joe Williamson (81), 63-year old June Polos, and 72-year old Patrick Henry Roberts were taken into custody and charged with gambling. Williamson was taken to a hospital en route to the jail as a precaution due to his age and possible health problems.
At the time of the raid, there were numerous customers in the establishment who were asked to cease dining activities and leave the restaurant. One customer commented that the law enforcement officials wore black hoods. “They looked like robbers or terrorists,” Margaret Johnson said. “I thought it was a hold-up. I was shaking when I left.”
Hanahan police lieutenant Michael Fowler noted that upon this third seizure of gambling machines at Pappy’s, its business license would be suspended. The owner has 30 days to appeal the decision with the Hanahan City Council.
Since the 2001 ban, it is estimated by the South Carolina Revenue Department, that $2.4 billion per year has been lost by the state.
Thus far in 2007, the State Law Enforcement Division reports 1,095 gambling machines have been seized.