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Daycare workers relieved after shut down of illegal gambling at Tallahassee internet café

Posted at 12:11 PM, Aug 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-05 18:20:46-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.(WTXL) — Three people were arrested after police say community tips led them to discover an illegal gambling operation at a Tallahassee internet café.

Members of the Tallahassee Police Department’s Special Investigations Section served a search warrant on an Internet café located at 1164 Capital Circle Southeast on Tuesday.

TPD says this is the latest in ongoing efforts to combat these illegal gambling operations in Tallahassee.

Investigators opened the inquiry acting on tips from the community that felt these cafés were damaging the quality of life in their neighborhood. There's a restaurant and a daycare on either side of the internet cafe.

While executing the search warrant at the business, named the “Fun Arcade,” investigators arrested the on-duty employee and two patrons and seized $3,300 and five computers.

Based on the evidence, 22-year-old Alaysja Burnley, 73-year-old Catherine Norton and 57-year-old Verdell Hall were arrested.

Norton and Hall are being charged with gambling and were given notices to appear in court after being released from the scene.

Burnley is facing several charges including of maintaining a gambling house, grand theft and fraudulent use of credit card. In addition, police say the employee was on probation and had five outstanding warrants for failing to appear in court.

The crackdown is a part of the department's mission to improve the quality of life in the area.

"Not a good idea to have anything illegal," said Undraua Thompson with Early Years Childcare Development.

She admits she was suspicious about the plaza next door, including Fun Arcade.

"People walking up and down the street, smoking a lot," Thompson said. "That's not good for the kids."

People at the daycare couldn't be happier to see the place shut down.

"We made sure it didn't make the kids uncomfortable because we kept them out of view as much as possible but, in the playground in the back, they can see over the fence and walk by there," said Thompson. "Hearing the conversations that people were having. That wasn't good."

TPD wants landlords and property managers to know that it is illegal to knowingly rent or lease property for the purposes of gambling.

TPD made arrests for gambling at internet cafes in March, leading to three places shutting down including one less than a quarter-mile from Fun Arcade.