Woman accused of running gambling house, letting grandkids play slots

Location of alleged gambling house in Batesville.
Location of alleged gambling house in Batesville.

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – A group's luck has run out after theIndependence County Sheriff's Office recently busted an illegal gamblingoperation.

Four people now face felony charges for running an illegal gamblinghouse outside Batesville, while one of the four also faces a misdemeanor forallegedly letting her grandchildren play the slots too.

The IndependenceCounty Sheriff's Office began its investigation about a year ago afterneighbors complained of a gambling house operating in a shopping center,located at 1697 Batesville Boulevard.

"It was a little back-shop area where apparently they werebringing in pretty good money," said Lt. Mike Mundy.

"From what we've been advised and what we've discovered inour investigation, you rang the door bell. Somebody came from around the back,let you in the front and then took you into the back so that you could play."

Police received a search warrant on December 12 and seizedfive gaming machines and more than $2,000 in cash.

Officers surprisingly discovered the operation also cateredto more than just adults.

"When we got back there, it was obvious something was goingon," Lt. Mundy said. "There were children's toys. There was actually an area setup for kids to watch movies and kids' movies back there."

Lt. Mundy says the kids also had their own slot machine toplay that spit out tokens instead of money.

Four people are now accused of operating a gambling house,which is a Class D felony punishable with up to six years in the statepenitentiary.

Those include John Gallagher, 65, Jacob Brannon, 38, WilliamGraveline, 39, and Barbara Rutledge, 62.

Graveline was booked into the Independence County Jail onTuesday but has already posted $100,000 bond.

Gallagher remains in police custody and is currently beingheld in lieu of $75,000 bond.

At last check Tuesday, Rutledge and Brannon have yet to turnthemselves in or be arrested. Their bond has also been set at $75,000.

Rutledge faces an additional charge of contributing to thedelinquency of a minor, which is a Class A misdemeanor.

Investigators say she brought her grandchildren into thegambling house and allowed them to play one of the machines.

It is unclear when the four suspects should appear again incourt.

Region 8 News will continue to track this story and provideupdates, as more information becomes available.

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