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Gambling Larceny Suspension Reprieve for Missouri Chief

Today’s Burning Question: I was off duty and went to a casino. I sat down at a slot machine, put in $20 and started playing… er… well… losing.  As I was playing/losing some jerk comes up to me and says I was at his machine and he left his player’s card in it. He claims I used up something like $27 worth of his credits. Can I be charged with anything?

Answer: In Missouri you can be charged with larceny… and if you don’t tell your boss you got arrested you could get yourself suspended.

But it all worked out in the end for Fire Chief Bruce Southard of the Rolla Rural Fire Protection District. His suspension ends tomorrow because the larceny charge was dismissed.

The incident occurred on July 4, 2011 at the Isle of Capri Casino in Boonville, Missouri. The Missouri Highway Patrol’s report on the incident explains the facts as follows:

“Southard played credits off of a slot machine, within the Isle of Capri casino, that were not his credits. Southard began playing a slot machine after Gary Dean Ring, W/M, date of birth 01-07-1960, … Columbia, …walked away from the machine leaving credits on the machine as well as his (Ring’s) Isle of Capri players’ card in the machine. Ring left the machine to use the toilet, when Southard approached the machine inserted his own money, a $20 bill, and began playing the machine, Ring stated he had left 52 $1 credits on the machine when he left. At the time I became involved in the incident, only 25 credits remained on the machine. Upon Ring’s return, an altercation took place between the two subjects. The incident was captured on surveillance video and was submitted with the arrest report.”

Chief Southard was not formally charged until December, 2011, and found himself in hot water with the fire board, who only recently found out about the charge. While expressing full confidence in Chief Southard, the board felt compelled to suspend him for 30 days effective February 29, 2012, because he did not inform them of the charge.

On March 19, 2012, the charges were dismissed by the county prosecutor, prompting the board to end Chief Southard’s suspension a few days early.

More on the story.

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