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LAPD Busts Shell Game on Los Angeles Street

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, December 08, 2009, at 05:49PM
hustle Ed Fuentes

File photo from 2006 shows a shell game taking place on Broadway.

Police officers from Central Division this weekend busted a shell game ring operating on Los Angeles street. In a press release sent out today, Lieutenant Paul Vernon warned those who live and shop Downtown to steer clear of the slight-of-hand games.

“Any shopper who thinks they can parlay gift money into a big wad of cash is going to be sadly disappointed,” said Vernon, who is in charge of detective operations for Central Division. “No one ever wins in a shell game, and what’s worse, much of the money lost goes right into the pockets of gang members who tax the gambling rings.”

Officers on Saturday arrested eight individuals, booking them on charges of felony conspiracy and illegal gambling. The seven men and one woman ranged from 27 to 67 years old.

A typical shell game requires the player to pick which of three shells hides a ball after their positions have been shuffled. A simple concept, but Vernon warns that the games are fixed.

“That’s the hook,” said Vernon. “It looks so easy --- guess where the ball is --- but the tosser uses slight-of-hand to hide the ball. You’ll never find it.”

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