Three Ft. Valley residents suspected of robbing a gambling machine in a local convenience store Jan. 14 were not elderly, as described in previous sheriff's reports, but they were certainly old enough to know better.
Marvin Dassau, 46, Davidson Drive, Ft. Valley; Anquenette Derevia Kendrick, 50, Chestnut Street, Ft. Valley; and Sentil Alante Scott, 26, Edward Street, Ft. Valley, were each identified Wednesday as suspects in the theft at the Chevron gas station near the Gateway Industrial Park on Highway 301 South, said Bulloch County sheriff's Chief Deputy Jared Akins.
The trio, initially described by witnesses as appearing to be senior citizens, with the male (Dassau) using a cane and one of the women on crutches, bilked the convenience store out of over $6,000 in cash and merchandise after damaging gambling machines, according to Bulloch County sheriff's reports. Akins said it is possible the three were disguised to appear older.
"Investigator Walter Deal, working with photos available from the convenience store and other law enforcement sources, was able to identify Marvin Dassau as one of the suspects involved in the theft and issued warrants for his arrest," Akins said. Wednesday, "Cpl. Greg Collins and Deputy Morgan Jones stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation and discovered Dassau in it. He was arrested on the outstanding warrant, and the other two occupants of the vehicle, Anquenette Kendrick and Sentil Scott, were found to also match the suspect descriptions from the Chevron."
After further investigation, all three were charged in connection with the gambling machine theft. "Dassau and Kendrick were charged with felony theft by taking, and Scott was charged with party to the crime of felony theft by taking," he said.
After discovering the theft Jan. 14, store owner Himanshu Patel told Deputy William Sims a "large elderly man with a cane," accompanied by two elderly women, one on crutches, spent about three hours playing on gambling machines located at the rear of the store, reports stated.
Dassau racked up $3,240 in store credits, which he used to purchase $3,100 in lottery tickets, $100 in groceries and $40 gas, Patel said, according reports.
Patel later discovered the gambling machines had been tampered with, and one was pried open. He told Sims $3,346 in cash was missing.
Surveillance video showed Dassau forcefully pulling on the machine, and Patel stated he must have had some sort of tool to pry it open. The video shows the woman on crutches - Kendrick - reaching into the machine and removing what Patel said was the $3,346, which he said Dassau had to have originally placed in the machine in order to win the $3,240 credit, reports stated.
The cash, paired with the store credits used to obtain the lottery tickets, gasoline and groceries, meant Patel lost a total of $6,586, Sims reported.
All three were taken to the Bulloch County Jail, where they await further court appearances.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.