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Police raid 50 businesses in illegal gambling ring [50 years ago]

As taken from the pages of The Aegis dated Thursday, May 28, 1964:

Sheriff William J. Kunkel along with 150 other policemen, staged the largest gambling raid in county history and one of the largest ever in Maryland 50 years ago this week. Fifty businesses, mostly bars and restaurants, were raided at the same time. At each of the raids the officers entered with warrants in hand to serve on the owners who had made alleged payoffs. The investigation started weeks earlier when a plain-clothes officer would go to an establishment, play a pinball machine and when he won free games, he would request to be paid off in cash. In the cases where an employee would pay the investigator, warrants were obtained for the establishment under state gambling laws. The proprietor was also charged with "keeping, managing or having interest in a gaming table or the profits thereof."

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The Maryland Water Works Company of Bel Air announced that it had planned to expand its water treatment and distribution capacity to keep pace with the growth of the area. Nearly $325,000 would be allocated for the expansion and improvement of the water service in 1964. This would be the first step of a master plan developed by the company's engineers. The company would also construct a new 250,000 gallon elevated tank near its reservoir in Forest Hill and a new pumping station on Rock Spring Road near Cressy Road. The Bynum Ridge Development would be served immediately after the completion of this new system.

The New Theatre on Bel Air Avenue in Aberdeen was broken into. Early on a Sunday morning, cash from Saturday's business was taken. The thief broke into the establishment through a glass door in the front of the building and then went upstairs to the manager's office where the receipts were located.

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The Garden Club of Harford County observed its 50th anniversary with a cocktail party for members and their husbands at Olney Farm, where the club was formed on June 2, 1914. The club's 1964 project was restoration of the garden at the Rock Run House in Susquehanna State Park. The Rock Run project was selected by the Garden Club of America as one of the three best in the United States.

St. Margaret's Parochial School on Hickory Avenue in Bel Air suffered fire damage. A fire starting in the basement kitchen damaged a portion of the older section of the school. Firemen from the Bel Air Volunteer Company arrived to find flames coming out of a basement window and smoke pouring from the building. The blaze badly damaged the kitchen, an adjoining hall, the upstairs kindergarten room and there was significant smoke damage throughout the building.

The Bush River Inn on Route 40 in Belcamp was damaged by a fire in the kitchen, which was believed to have started from an exhaust fan motor over a kitchen range. Damage was estimated in excess of $25,000. Most of the damage was caused by smoke and heat. The flames also burned a hole through the roof.

Ralph Walls of Bel Air received a Ford Mustang from Lee Iacocca, Ford Motor Company vice president and Ford Division general manager, during a recent visit to Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Mich. The Mustang was decorated with the same identifications to be used on the Indianapolis 500 pace car the following Saturday. The Mustang was given to the Central Motor Company, which Walls represented, for recent sales achievement. Only three dealerships in the Baltimore Washington area were honored.


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