Gambling Bust Leads To Rare Find

Wednesday, February 14th 2007, 3:10 pm
By: News On 6

Authorities in Claremore say they've busted up a gambling ring that involves more than 50 people. They haven't made any arrests, but say they've shut down the betting operation by cutting off the money supply. Authorities say arrests will come soon, and they're tracking down customers of a bookie right now. News On 6 reporter Emory Bryan reports that along the way, investigators came across something none of the detectives had ever seen.

It's an unusual investigation for the Claremore Police.

"Fairly complicated scheme for bookmaking, at least for northeast Oklahoma," said Claremore Police Detective John Singer.

Detective Singer says authorities searched a house near Claremore and found $57,000 in gambling money, with records identifying at least 50 people who used the bookie.

"Sports gambling, football because it's the end of the season but baseball, horses, hockey, any sport can be gambled on through a bookie and this one was no different," Singer said.

Even though the bookie's operation was out in Rogers County, the Claremore Police Department handled the search warrant. Police say they were tipped off by the feds. The investigation itself, is being handled by the District Attorney's Drug Task Force.

The most unusual find in the investigation, was a 1934 $1,000 bill. Police aren't sure why the bookie had it.

"It's our belief that it's real, we've been told by people who claim to know that it's real,” said Singer. “We took it to some banks and they don't deal with them so they weren't sure, but we've concluded that it's an authentic thousand dollar bill, we've also been told it's worth more than a thousand dollars, or considerably more.”

Singer says the search warrant and seizure of the money probably shut down the bookie, but no arrests have been made.

"We have some suspects who are arrestable at this point, but the investigation is still going to take some time," he said.

Authorities believe the bets were taken by phone, in person and online. They say the bookie’s records were excellent, and they've identified his customers in Tulsa, Bartlesville, Okmulgee and several other Oklahoma towns.