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Church bingo volunteers fight back, foil father-son robbery, say N.H. police

46-year-old Charles Preston and his 20-year-old son Justin were reportedly arrested after an alleged failed attempt to rob a Nashua bingo hall. CBS Boston

46-year-old Charles Preston and his 20-year-old son Justin were reportedly arrested after an alleged failed attempt to rob a Nashua bingo hall.
CBS Boston
(CBS) A father and son allegedly tried to pull off an armed robbery at a church bingo game in southern New Hampshire, but police say their luck ran out when they confronted an unimpressed volunteer, reports CBS Boston.

The man says he was counting money and getting payouts ready for the Blessed John Church's Saturday night bingo game in Nashua, N.H., when one of the two suspects came into the office.

"He just waltzed right in, threw a lunch bag cooler at me and said 'throw the money in the bag'," said the man who does not want his name revealed. "I just sat there staring at him."

According to CBS Boston, the suspect, identified as 46-year-old Charles Preston, then allegedly flashed a gun and said 'This ain't a joke, put the (expletive) money in the bag.'"

"The gun is right in my face and before you know it he's shaking and he pulled the trigger twice in my face," said the volunteer.

The gun would turn out to be a fake, but the church volunteer didn't know it at the time.

Preston reportedly put the gun down and started to grab some of the $15,000 in the room.

Another volunteer sprang into action, grabbing the (fake) gun.

"I just jumped up and yelled 'Mother (expletive) you're mine now' and I just went to town on him and I took him out," said the first man.

Others helped pin Preston down, who then issued a new threat, according to the first volunteer.

"When I had him in the reverse headlock, choking the daylights out of him, he yelled 'I got a bomb.'"

The bingo workers kept Preston down until police arrived.

Investigators would also arrest his 20-year-old son Justin who was outside.

This all happened at the Eagle's Wing Function Center in Nashua, where the Manchester church holds its weekly bingo game. The two suspects live just a block away.

Both men were arraigned Monday. The father is being held on $75,000 bail, and his son on $25,000.

"It was a great job done by the employees," said Nashua Lieutenant Denis Linehan. "It's something that we don't encourage, is to get involved with somebody that appears to be armed or is armed."

  • Barry Leibowitz

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