LAKE CITY, Fla. – Deputies on Thursday arrested three men and a woman from North Carolina suspected of trying to swindle money from internet gaming establishments in Columbia County.
Gabrien Brooks, 25; Jordan Stoney, 23; Khadijah Thomas, 27; and Brandon Walls, 31, were arrested on multiple fraud charges, according to copies of their arrest reports obtained by News4Jax.
All four had bonded out of jail as of Friday evening.
According to the reports, Walls and Thomas acknowledged they hatched a plan to visit Florida and use electronic jamming devices to defraud internet gaming establishments.
The investigation began Thursday afternoon when deputies were called to an arcade on Duval Street. Brooks and Stoney were detained at the business after employees accused them of using a device to trick the gambling machines into letting them continue playing without putting any money into the machines.
The arcade’s manager told investigators he recognized Brooks and Stoney from other casinos, saying they came into another arcade he manages Wednesday night and scammed the machines out of $8,000. This time, the manager said, he noticed they were using a jamming device when they tried to collect $900 from a gaming table.
According to an arrest report, the manager called 911 to report the men and then he and security locked the doors to keep the men inside the business until authorities arrived. Deputies recovered a device believed to be a jammer from the men as well as a large sum of cash.
Less than 30 minutes later, a theft was reported at a second arcade. A security guard working there told investigators three people came into the arcade and were using a jamming device, which became apparent after staff received an alert that the machines were being tampered with.
Two of those individuals were later identified as Walls and Thomas, who were still at the business when deputies arrived. A search of their vehicle recovered six devices that authorities believe are electronic jamming devices. A third individual, who was not arrested, is said to have left the arcade once he learned law enforcement had been called.
An employee at one arcade told investigators she grew suspicious of Walls, Thomas and the third individual when they kept cashing out tickets worth over $100 every couple of minutes. She said she believed the trio might have scammed the business out of more than $2,200.
As of Friday afternoon, the third individual with Walls and Thomas was still at large.