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Game World store owners given probation

Pair arrested for selling second-hand items without a license

Posted: April 9, 2009 12:10 a.m.
Updated: April 9, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Game World co-owners Gary Owen and Rodney Whitfield were sentenced to three years probation each for their part in dealing in second-hand video games without a license on Wednesday.

Whitfield and Owen pleaded no contest in the Santa Clarita Valley Superior Court division-two court room. "For the purposes of this case, a plea of no contest is the same as a plea of guilty," Judge Robert McSorley said.

A second count of selling second-hand items without documentation was dropped, according to a district attorney spokeswoman.

A string of robberies in which video-game systems were the only items stolen prompted sheriff's deputies to begin a two-month investigation into stores that might be fencing the goods, Anderson said. Sheriff's deputies sent six Santa Clarita Valley game stores letters asking store owners to show proof of a business license, he said. Game World never complied.

Owen and Whitfield were arrested by Santa Clarita Valley sheriff's deputies March 18 during a raid of Game World, a second-hand video-game store in Canyon Country.

Whitfield purchased a used video-game system from an undercover agent without asking for identification and without asking the agent to fill out state-required paperwork, Sgt. James Anderson said.

Second-hand game stores operate under the same guidelines as pawn shops, he said.

Deputies confiscated video-game systems during the raid.

Game World remains closed and its future is up in the air, Owen said.

"That's an "if" right now," he said, when asked whether the store will reopen.

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