Gambling Machines Seized from Winnsboro Business

A violent attack at a Winnsboro business sent a Blackstock man to the hospital with severe head trauma last month and led to the discovery of an illegal gambling operation by the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, 13 video poker machines were seized from an establishment licensed to Rebecca C. Boulware, 46, of Stone Road in Chester, under the name “B.S. Variety” at 1534 Highway 321 Business N. at 11:14 p.m. on Nov. 30.

The machines were spotted earlier that evening when deputies responded to an assault call at the business. According to an incident report, an attendant at the business, 38-year-old Manuel Verdeja of Dokkensville Road in Blackstock, answered a knock at the front door of the business at approximately 8:30 p.m. When he opened the door, two unidentified men struck him several times in the head with a brick. A witness at the scene noticed an ambulance next door at the Swamp Fox restaurant and ran to them for help. When deputies arrived, Verdeja was being treated by EMS for a large contusion above his right eye and another, larger contusion on the back of his head, just above his right ear. Boulware arrived at the scene shortly after the assault and transported Verdeja to Fairfield Memorial Hospital for treatment. Verdeja was later transferred to Palmetto Richland by ambulance for treatment of severe head trauma.

By Dec. 4, Verdeja was still drifting in and out of consciousness, but was awake long enough to tell investigators that he had been robbed of $1,000 in cash. According to the report, Verdeja has lost significant memories of the assault, memories that may or may not return.

During the initial investigation of the assault, deputies spotted several people coming from the back of the inside of the building where he noticed several gambling machines. Investigators arriving at the business just after 11 p.m. received consent to search the location from an attendant. In addition to the poker machines, investigators confiscated nearly $3,300 in cash, a .22 caliber revolver, receipts and an accounting ledger.

While both incidents remain under investigation, the Sheriff’s Office said charges were pending on the operation of illegal gambling devices.

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