Burglars broke into a Collinsville tavern and then used a pry bar to get inside video poker machines. Video gambling was legalized in Illinois for taverns about two years ago and already the machines are becoming a popular target for criminals.
Tisa Grzywacz owns Teezers Tavern in Collinsville. Her place was targeted and the thieves took the cash from inside the poker machines.
Grzywacz said, “I wouldn’t take anything form anybody its upsetting yes it is.”
Early Tuesday morning someone broke into the establishment and then broke into the gaming machines. Grzywacz said, “Kind of like being violated that people come in and do this stuff were just a little business we don’t have a great big huge business you know what I’m saying, scary.”
The company that supplies the games dropped off new ones to replace the machines that were damaged. Officials are not saying how much cash was stolen.
It’s not as if the owner left the doors wide open. She had a security system, the thieves stole part of that too. It’s impossible for a bar to have super tight security like a casino.
Detective Bud Jeremias works for Collinsville Police. He said, “Everything is easier to rob than a casino banks are almost easier to rob than a casino…a mom and pop place would be so much easier.”
It appears video machine break-ins are becoming more popular. This week there was Teezers in Collinsville. Last year, machines in Godfrey and also near Jerseyville were busted open. A few months ago there were attempted machine break-ins in Summerfield but the criminals didn’t get any money.
Jeremias added, “I believe more and more and people are going to try to come in and try to get easy cash.”
The bar owner said the security system she owned was recently paid off. The owner is not the only victim. The state gets a cut of the winnings and so does the company that puts the machines here.