Fairfax County police conducted one of their largest gambling raids Wednesday, seizing 147 slot machines and other gambling paraphernalia that police valued at $450,000, at a Fairfax warehouse.
They arrested Bernard Cox 45, of 3801 Skyview La., Fairfax, who was described by his attorney, Blaine Friedlander of Arlington, as "a very nice, quiet kind of fellow," an antique collector and not the type to run a gambling ring. "If my guy were involved in something horrendous . . . he'd be in jail by now," Friedlander said.
When asked to comment on his arrest, Cox said he was not talking to any more reporters. But United Press International quoted Cox as saying, "Some people collect bottle caps, some collect beer bottles and I collect slot machines."
The slot machines range from a 5-foot tall, hand-carved wooden Indian machine made in 1893 to modern kinds, police said. Another machine, imported from England, takes only British coins.
One slot machine built around 1920 shows three types of 15-cent packs of cigarettes that were popular as early as the 1920s, Fatima, Camel and Lucky Strike.
Police conducted the raid at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Cox's warehouse, also at 3801 Skyview La.Police said they acted on an anonymous tip from a caller who said he had been invited into the warehouse to view the antique machines.
Police charged Cox with possession of gambling paraphernalia and possession of gambling punch boards, a lottery-type game.
Gary R. Butler, 19, of 804 S. Roanoke St., Sterling, an exmployee at the warehouse where Cox repairs pinball and jukebox machines, was charged with possession of gambling paraphernalia. Both were released on summonses and are scheduled to appear in court May 12, police said.