Convenient stores are often targets in the city of Warner Robins.
"80% of the armed robbery in commercial areas are these convenient stores," says Mayor Chuck Shaheen.
Now, the tables have turned. 11 convenient stores and their owners are charged with violating state law.
"We do know that these establishments while the gaming machines are legal to have in there, they were doing cash payouts," says Tabitha Pugh, Warner Robins Police. 13 people, including store clerks, were arrested during a sweep on Friday. They face felony charges of commercial gambling. The narcotics division rounded up the suspects after months of investigating.
"We're not targeting any individuals, but we do patrol these convenient stores," says Mayor Chuck Shaheen.
Pugh says it takes a long time to put together a case against a potential illegal gambling establishment, because about 90% of the convenient stores in the city have gaming machines.
"They have to make sure their case is solid."
While cash payouts are illegal, the gaming is not. State law allows the machines in stores as long as winners are rewarded with tangible items.
"It is difficult unless you're actually playing the games to know whether or not this is happening," says Pugh.
That makes it hard for police to know who really needs the protection.
"A lot of the people that come in and rob these places have the perception that there is a lot of money in these places whether there is or not," says Pugh.
The goal is to make sure that the legal stores that are open, stay safe.
"The ones that are there if they are in compliance we need to maintain them and protect these convenient stores," says Shaheen.
Pugh says at least a dozen more arrests warrants are pending. The investigation is still on-going.