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Crime

Decatur police raid casino disguised as church

Josh Moon

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Preaching to the right, antiques to the left, gambling in the back.

Decatur Police announced over the weekend that it had shut down an illegal casino operating inside a purported church and antique store.

Signs outside of a building which used to house McCollum’s Seafood Restaurant — a longtime Decatur staple — advertised Life Church and Vintage Treasures antiques. But inside, in a secret room in the back, Decatur Police say they confiscated 17 slot machine-type gambling machines.

Additionally, police say they discovered “an alarm and bell system” set up to warn workers if police showed up.

“During the month of December, DPD had received multiple reports of a gambling ‘casino’ operation inside of the old McCollum’s Seafood Restaurant,” a post on the Decatur PD’s Facebook page said. “Investigators discovered a large gambling machine operation inside of the church.”

DPD arrested Timothy Keith Roberts, of Huntsville, on charges of promoting gambling and unlawful maintenance of electric bells, etc., both felony charges.

Donna Joanne Weir, of Meridian, Miss., a worker at the church/store/casino, was also arrested on charges of promoting gambling.

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It was the second arrest for Roberts in the last two years for gambling-related crimes. He was also arrested in Decatur in 2017 for possession of a gambling device and establishing a gambling place.

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Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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