SE Houston gameroom reopens after robbers gun down worker with bag of cash

September 19, 2013 8:26:54 PM PDT
First, 13 Undercover's hidden cameras caught illegal gambling going on inside a southeast-side gameroom operating like an casino. Later, an employee there was murdered during a robbery. Now that 8-liner gameroom reopened Thursday night, and that has the owner of a nearby daycare center outraged.

It looks like any other strip center, complete with a daycare center, probably like the one you drop your kids off at. But feet away is this, an eight liner gameroom. We went inside, behind its locked doors, where most of you can't go, and caught illegal gambling on hidden camera. We even showed it to Houston police.

Twenty-four hours after our investigation aired, an employee there was murdered during a robbery. Yet despite the indisputable evidence of illegal activity going on there, Thursday workers at the Monroe gameroom on Almeda Genoa were preparing to reopen the 8-liner operation less than 2 weeks after an employee holding a bag full of cash was gunned down.

While authorities have not stopped what's going on inside this gameroom, what's even worse, it's just feet from a daycare center where dozens of young pre-school children play every day.

"I'm very upset," the owner of the nearby daycare said.

The owner of the daycare center asked we not show her face or the name of her business. With the gameroom opening at 9am, while she has dozens of kids to take care of, she's understandably concerned.

"I'm just very upset, I'm mad. It outrages me that they would be able to reopen again after that happened," she said.

"What's your biggest concern about the safety of the children?" we asked.

"That it penetrates the building, somebody's caught in the cross fire. It's just not safe," she said.

The owners of the Monroe gameroom have not returned repeated phone calls from the 13 Undercover unit over the past few weeks. Again, I tried to go inside to find someone to talk with me. But with the door locked, I only managed to speak to a worker on the other side.

"You're fixing the electric and putting in new cameras and security?" we asked the worker.


The gameroom is even installing new video cameras like this one to show everyone who walks in and out of the gameroom. But that is little reassurance to the daycare owner.

"That didn't stop the guy that killed the woman there before you know. There were obvious cameras," the daycare owner said.

And what makes her even angrier, as this police report shows, this gameroom was raided by police in 2011 after an undercover officer was illegally paid cash after gambling. According to the daycare owner, it closed briefly but later reopened.

"It has already been raided before. Shut down, everything moved out, and then they still reopen again. And then now, somebody gets killed and gets burglarized and it still opens again. I mean what's it going to take to permanently shut this place down," the day care owner said.

The owner of the daycare says she's sent these letters to several city officials begging them not to let the gameroom continue to operate.

I spoke on the phone Thursday to the head of HPD's Vice Division and he tells me that his officers would have to collect their own evidence of illegal gambling activity to try and shut this gameroom. But at this time, they don't have that evidence.

Find Brian on Facebook at ABC13BrianCollister or on Twitter at @BrianCollister

Take ABC13 with you!
Download our free apps for iPhone, iPad and Android devices

Load Comments