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Man Accused of 'Pinching' at Casino

An Allentown man faces charges that he cheated at blackjack at the Sands casino by 'pinching' and 'capping' his bets.

Pinching at a casino won't necessarily get you arrested for sexual harassment but it could get you charged with theft. 

That's what happened to an Allentown man who state police say was cheating at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, according to court papers. 

"Pinching is when a casino patron reduces his original bet after the cards are dealt in order to minimize the loss on a bad hand," explained Trooper Robert Grossi in an affidavit.

"Capping" is when a gambler tries to add to his bet after the cards have been dealt to gain an advantage on the casino.

Grossi said about 4:30 p.m. Sept. 6, a Sands surveillance operator said he saw Jeremy J. Pahula, 34, of Chew Street, Allentown capping a bet. When Grossi spoke with Pahula, the patron said it was his first time playing Black jack and he didn't know the rules.

But Grossi reviewed surveillance tapes and saw that Pahula had played Black jack the previous night and was warned against capping and pinching. A review of the tapes found that Pahula had capped and and pinched his bets numerous times, the affidavit said.

Police say he obtained more than $400 in casino chips by capping his bets on 10 separate winning hands of Black jack. 

Pahula was charged with one count of theft by deception, one count of attempt to commit theft by deception and 15 counts of prohibited acts.

He was arraigned before District Justice Patricia A. Romig-Passaro and committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $10,000 bail.  

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