A trio from North Carolina were arrested in Vero Beach last week after arcade owners say they fiddled with the gambling machines to be unusually generous.
In an unusual circumstance of machine owners complaining about rigged machines, Minela Tiric, Lonnie Moody and Jeremy Tootle each face one count of scheme to defraud. The two 26-year-olds, Tiric of Greensboro and Moody from Pleasant Hill, each posted $5,000 bond. Tootle, a 27-year-old from Mebane, posted $25,000 bond.
Tootle got the stiffer bond after, according to the arrest reports, he admitted to being the scheme’s captain. He is also the one with a conviction record in North Carolina for larceny and breaking and entering.
“Tootle stated he had the key that would allow him to add credits or cash value to the machines that would allow Tiric and Moody to cash out larger sums of money,” the report reads. “Tootle also stated the key would allow him to also open the cash holding area of the machines and remove cash from the machine he didn’t win.”
Tootle could work unnoticed if Tiric did the job she described as being the “pretty girl ...to distract male employees.” Also, she’d cash out the money “because she appeared more innocent,” she told Indian River County Sheriff’s Office detectives.
Moody said he did some cashing out also and admitted he saw Tootle monkey around with the machine money boxes.
After arcade owner Arnaldo Davalos said he got hit for $3,204, he filed a report with the Indian River Sheriff’s Office at 1:15 a.m. Wednesday. Another arcade owner, Leshieka Daniels, had done the same after he felt his arcades got worked for $1,085 and $1,705 on Tuesday. Someone from Good Luck Gaming claimed an illegitimate $1,000 loss. All three described each member of the team, according to the arrest reports.
Davalos and Daniels gave positive identifications after cops looking for the trio’s black Volkswagen with North Carolina plates stopped the car on U.S. 1.