Video poker machine bandits busted – Standard Speaker

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TIMES-SHAMROCK FILE Police say the men behind a number of video poker machine robberies have been arrested.

Three men accused of stealing from a video poker machine at a Freeland business in November face an additional criminal case after being identified as the alleged culprits behind similar instances at two other businesses — one in Foster Twp., and the other in West Hazleton.

State police at Hazleton charged Juan F. Jerez Madera, 32, with a last known address in Hazleton; Rolando J. Pena, 40, of Bronx, New York; and Ramon E. Berroa, 47, of New York City, on Monday for thefts from two video poker machines Nov. 10 at Fuel Stop, 904 Hazle St., Foster Twp., and Sept. 15 at the Dog House Saloon, 202 S. Broad St., West Hazleton.

Freeland police initially arrested Madera, Pena and Berroa on Nov. 10, charging them with crimes after police said they entered The Other Side, a bar and restaurant on Centre Street at approximately 12:50 p.m. Nov. 10 and removed $170 in cash from the video poker machine, which was located in a rear pool room.

According to arrest papers, the men were also at Fuel Stop around 1 p.m. that day and Pena played on two poker machines there before he manipulated the devices and is viewed on video surveillance handing something to Berroa and then to Jerez Madera. In the span of about 40 minutes, arrest papers state, the trio pocketed $6,048 from the machines at Fuel Stop.

Their black Acura with New York plates was stopped by Freeland police along with officers from surrounding departments later that night and the vehicle was seized.

Troopers said they found lock pick tool sets and 12 vendor keys for various machines, such as ATMs, juke boxes

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