GARDINER, Maine -- A group a World War II veterans are being held without bail on charges related to an illegal gaming ring they ran through their local American Legion Post.
Billy "Point Man" Pegs, Rodney "Cut Throat" Crandal and John "The Jack" Intrown are the apparent ring leaders of this primarily octogenarian syndicate of cribbage playing scallywags. The ring was uncovered last week after a raid on an American Legion post by state inspectors.
"I know what this looks like," said Special Agent Imas Kunker, who was in on the initial raid and in charge of cracking the dastardly ring of patriotic peggers. "The big bad police are picking on poor little old war heroes in wheel chairs, but there is a lot more to the story than meets the eye in this case."
According to Kunker the three ringleaders go well beyond just playing a couple of rounds of the classic game of chance while having a beer with aging foxhole friendlies.
"The thing is," Kunker said. "These guys play cribbage in ways that many of us would never consider. We put up hidden cameras and microphones and you would be shocked at what we learned from monitoring the games. I mean, I've been trying to figure out the game for decades and these guys are spitting out '15-2s', 'double run for 8' and 'For his knobs' like real pros. It's not like we are dealing with novices... these are true cribbage criminals."
Billy Pegs, 87-year-old World War II ex-gunner's mate, admits that paying the $5 entry fee on Sundays is actually a bit more extreme than in the old days. "We used to play a penny a point on the USS Lexington," Pegs said. "Now I guess maybe inflation took over or maybe it was our pure and simple greed that did it. It's true we aren't just having fun any more. It's like a business and everyone wants their cut of the action. It's easy to forget you're playing with friends sometimes.
"I once pegged out 60 points ahead of my best friend from the war Johnny Intrown, or "The Jack", as we call him. Being skunked like that has effects on a person. It's almost like PTSD... and I did it to him like he was some nobody who never stood up for his country," sobbed Pegs. "I'm almost glad we got busted before things got too out of hand."