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Woman accused of running gambling house, letting grandkids play slots

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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 the Independence County Sheriff's Office recently busted an illegal gambling operation.

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

 The Independence County Sheriff's Office began its investigation about a year ago after neighbors 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 were bringing in pretty good money," said Lt. Mike Mundy.

"From what we've been advised and what we've discovered in our 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 seized five gaming machines and more than $2,000 in cash.

Officers surprisingly discovered the operation also catered to more than just adults.

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

Lt. Mundy says the kids also had their own slot machine to play 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 state penitentiary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is unclear when the four suspects should appear again in court.

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

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