MILLCREEK — Police looking for a man who tried to hide from officers by running into a nearby business now have a bigger investigation on their hands after stumbling onto a possible gambling operation.
On Wednesday, two men were hanging around an industrial business complex at 4100 S. West Temple and went door-to-door asking each business if they could use the restroom, said Unified police detective Kevin Mallory. One of the business owners called police and an officer responded to find out what the two were doing.
As the officer was getting information from the men, one of them ran off, Mallory said. The man ran into a nearby business, Salt Lake CDL, a truck driving school. The man locked the door behind him and hid in the ceiling of the business, Mallory said.
The business owner was called and opened the door for officers who pulled the suspect out of the ceiling and arrested him on outstanding warrants, Mallory said.
But while the officers were in the trucking school, they noticed gaming machines and other items, “indicative of illegal activity,” including drugs, he said.
A search warrant was obtained and seven video gaming machines were removed from the business.
Malloy said a couple of people were questioned, but no one was arrested. However, he said evidence and other information collected may lead to a much bigger investigation that includes gaming machines at other locations.
But Brandon Farrar, the manager of Salt Lake CDL, told KSL that he does not believe he did anything wrong.
The alleged drugs that were found, he said, belonged to the man who was arrested.
“I have no idea who that guy is,” Farrar said. “He ran into my office and went up into the ceiling.”
As for the machines that were seized, Farrar said they are the same ones that many other local businesses have. Furthermore, he contends they are not gambling machines because there is no chance involved.
They are “pre-determined” machines, Farrar said, meaning the game shows a person what the next move is so the player already knows if they would win or lose.
“There’s no chance involved with it,” he said.
Farrar admitted, however, that a person has to pay to play the machines.
“They don’t give out money, they give out a ticket you redeem, you redeem a prize,” he said.
He also conceded that a cash prize is one of the items that can be redeemed, as well as “certificates” that can be exchanged for other prizes.
A post on Farrar’s Facebook page on Sept. 17 showed picture of a video game called “Lucky’s Loot” along with the caption “Machines are hitting!!! Come down and play.”
In the picture of the game, it shows the “play amount” is $5 along with an area that appears to show a chance to win $1,000, along with a player’s “balance.”
On Sept. 16, Farrar posted a video on Salt Lake CDL’s Facebook page allegedly showing gaming machines in the driver’s lounge while stating, “Everybody’s welcome. Play our new machines.”