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Man steals hundreds of dollars from Roanoke business recovering from fire, COVID-19 restrictions

Owner said the man stole money from their gambling machine

From a devastating fire in 2019 to COVID-19 restrictions, the Community Inn has been hit with another curveball.

ROANOKE, Va. – It’s no secret how much restaurants and small businesses have struggled to survive as coronavirus cases and restrictions from the state have fluctuated. One restaurant in the Grandin Village area of Roanoke has dealt with even more and need your help after a recent theft.

From a devastating fire in 2019 that closed the doors of Community Inn for months to the restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, a mid-January 2021 theft has added to a mountain of worries.

“He edged his way down to the end of the bar. When the bartender went to hand someone their ticket, he just bolted behind the bar, grabbed the bag and ran out of the door,” explained owner Raymond “Mont” Morrow. He says the money was from their gambling machine.

Roanoke Police are now investigating the January 13 larceny case.

Morrow and his family have owned the businesses since the 1970s.

Another business just around the corner was the victim of a similar crime. According to a police report, “Spike’s” was burglarized days before Christmas. Employees told our reporters that the thieves stole around $5,000 from similar machines.

“They seem to be going after the gambling machine money,” speculated Morrow.

Police have not made a connection.

While inside, customers are separated, pool tables are often empty and bar stools are no more. Morrow thanks the community for keeping its doors open.

“They come through it all and they’re still doing it. You know, that speaks a lot for them,” said longtime customer Roger Ransom.

“I guess you just have to take it day-by-day. Some days are going to be worse than others. Ya know, hopefully, this will be over sooner rather than later,” stated Morrow.

The thief was able to get away with hundreds of dollars, said Morrow.

If you have any information about this incident, you’re asked to call Roanoke Police.


About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors Virginia Today on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.