The Upshur County Sheriff’s Office is opening a criminal investigation involving false statements provided on three Game Room applications provided by Harry Fox of Gilmer, Texas.
These locations include the game rooms at 6527 Hwy. 155 in Big Sandy, 717 U.S. Hwy. 271 in Gilmer, and 1728 Hwy 259 in Diana.
Upshur County Investigator Shane Guthrie, the designated coordinator of Upshur County’s Sheriff’s Office game room regulation, received the applications from Harry Fox on May 15, 2020.
Investigator Guthrie observed that the application claimed to have made numerous donations of specific items to area law enforcement including the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office and brought this to the attention of the Sheriff.
It was immediately evident that the donations listed in the game room application were, in fact, donations made by Upshur County Crime Stoppers to the Sheriff’s Office over several years.
Sheriff Webb contacted Upshur County Crime Stoppers President Cynthia Clark.
She advised the Sheriff that the Crime Stoppers group has received funds from Mr. Fox, however all the donations listed in the game room applications came from the Crime Stoppers group to area law enforcement. These items were not donated to law enforcement from Mr. Fox.
Investigator Shane Guthrie was advised by Ms. Clark that Harry Fox had requested from her all donations made by Upshur County Crime Stoppers, and that she provided that to him. Ms. Clark identified the donation list in the applications as being the list she had provided to Mr. Fox.
Mr. Fox was contacted and confirmed to Investigator Guthrie that the list in his application was indeed the list he had received from Cynthia Clark.
Upshur County Crime Stoppers receives money from several sources, including probation fees paid by those on criminal probation. They also receive private donations.
The Sheriff’s Office believes evidence shows that Mr. Fox was claiming Crime Stopper donations as his own, which is not what occurred.
Since Sheriff Webb took Office, The Upshur County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Webb have refused donations from game room operators to the Sheriff’s Office due to the Sheriff’s Office concerns for the criminal activity that it observes at these type locations. Furthermore, due to the Sheriff’s Office now having regulatory authority over these establishment, the Office will continue this policy.
The Sheriff’s Office has contacted several other area law enforcement listed in the application as having received donations from these game rooms. They too advised that the listed donations came from Crime Stoppers, not game rooms or their operators. Law enforcement agencies listed as recipients of donations on this list include Gilmer Police, Big Sandy Police, and Ore City Police in Upshur County along with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office considers the attempt by Mr. Fox to claim the donations as his own to be clearly misleading and false.
These game room applications for business will be denied based on the false information contained in them. Mr. Fox will have the right, per the Upshur County Game Room regulations, to appeal the Sheriff’s Office decision to the Upshur County Game Room Permit Hearing Examiner, Don Gross, who is appointed by the Commissioners Court.
The results of the criminal investigation will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office.