, Salem, MA

October 29, 2012

25 computers seized from cafe

By Alan Burke Staff writer
The Salem News

---- — PEABODY — Police seized what they describe as “25 electronic gaming computers, as well as additional electronic peripherals” after executing a search warrant yesterday at Cyber Palace Cafe at 535 Lowell St.

“Also taken in the search were records and other evidence relative to the crime of gaming,” according to a press release from the Peabody Police Department.

Thus far, no arrests have been made. The business has been closed.

Cyber Palace Cafe has been described as an Internet cafe.

According to the press release from Peabody Detective Mike Crane, an investigation of the Cyber Palace began shortly after its opening. The technological complexity of seeking evidence from computers required bringing other agencies into the case.

Among the law enforcement organizations involved are the Essex County district attorney, the Lynn Police Vice Squad and members of NEMLEC, the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Cyber Crime Unit, including officers from Medford, Belmont and Beverly.

They eventually concluded that the operation was in violation of state laws against gaming or illegal gambling.

“The investigation was extremely broad,” according to Crane’s statement, “focusing on the owners, operators and those who provided the machines to the business.”

The items, including the computers, will be examined by the Peabody Police Department’s computer crime lab, which specializes in electronic forensics — getting information and evidence from seized computers.

Among those involved in the investigation are Peabody Chief Robert Champagne; Deputy Chief Martin Cohan; Peabody Detectives Robert Church, Stephanie Lane, Ralph Scopa and Eric Ricci; Beverly Patrolman Dave Costa; and Detective James Schwab of Belmont.

A search warrant on this type of operation has never been executed before in Massachusetts, according to Crane.