The scene is a quiet home on straight, leafy street lined with one-story brick homes.in Mount Pleasant, S.C., a suburb of Charleston that looks exactly how it sounds it would look. 78-year-old pensioner Amelia Cheeseborough and other guests are gathered around a couple wobbly makeshift poker tables enjoying a few rounds of the game that has taken the nation by storm these past few years -- Texas Hold 'Em.
The relative peace and tranquility of that scene would not last. Eight men in ski masks suddenly burst through the front door.
"They came in with masks and with their guns drawn. It was like something out of a TV show."
In short order, the intruders absconded with $6,000 from the attendees. As the Charleston Post and Courier described it:
The thousands of dollars...seized included cash from wallets, pockets and purses, plus savings stowed away in a dresser drawer
A pretty frightening experience for all who were present, I'm sure. Alas, none of the perpetrators are likely to get nabbed for criminal trespass, much less aggravated burglary. For the key word I left out in the above quotation was..."police."
Yes, this was a sting. A major undercover operation involving a "confidential informant" who was strapped with an audio and video transmitter, backed up by officers from the narcotics and special operations units, all to crack down on the scourge of....poker.
Players paid a $20 "buy-in," with a percentage of the proceeds going to the house. Officers spotted 15 to 20 vehicles visiting the home several days a week, police said.
"This was not a normal recreational card game," Capt. Frank Riccio said. "This was something involving large quantities of money."
Four people gathered at the house Thursday, all of whom had been ticketed the night before, disagreed, saying only $250 was in play when officers entered.
Please, somebody get me out of here. I'm just a simple man. There's only so much I can take. Get me out of this lunatic country before my head explodes.