During the day, Michael Anthony Thorn was a police officer in Howard County, where for 18 years he worked to uphold the law. At night, police say, Tykie Thorn was the manager and pit boss of an illegal Texas Hold 'Em poker casino run out of a warehouse in Anne Arundel County.
Thorn, 39, of Ellicott City and his father, Gary Thorn Sr., 63, of Glen Burnie were charged last week with running the casino, known as Tykie's Lodge, in Glen Burnie, according to Anne Arundel police.
Michael Thorn, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, was charged with eight counts of illegal gambling and related crimes. If convicted of all counts, he would face nine years in prison and a $4,100 fine.
Paid dealers ran the games, and gamblers bought chips imprinted with the word "Tykie" to play, according to charging documents. At the end of the night, players exchanged the chips for cash, records show. Pots were as big as $6,000.
Complete Restoration Services, an emergency contracting firm owned by Jesse Lee Turpin Jr., rented the warehouse to Michael Thorn, police said. Turpin also was charged with illegal gambling.
Thorn was suspended from the Howard County police indefinitely, said Police Chief G. Wayne Livesay. Livesay said his department got a tip about Thorn months ago and alerted Anne Arundel investigators.
"I am extremely upset by Thorn's actions," Livesay said. "He can expect no sympathy from me."
In February, Baltimore County police raided another poker operation that allegedly was run by Thorn, documents show. Detectives were told by a manager there that the games were run by a nonprofit group and that winnings were donated to charitable organizations.
Baltimore County investigators told the operators to stop playing the games or they would face criminal charges, documents show.
Staff writer Eric Rich contributed to this report.