Convicted murderer accused of stealing stack of poker chips at Casino Queen

Lonnie Edwards
Lonnie Edwards

A 48-year-old East St. Louis man was arrested on suspicion of stealing a stack of $100 poker chips from a Casino Queen poker table after his girlfriend called the police on him.

Lonnie Edwards is facing a felony theft charge and was still being held at the East St. Louis jail Wednesday morning on a $30,000 bail.

East St. Louis Detective Ronald McClellan said he went to the Casino Queen on Friday evening and within two minutes of being inside, he stole a stack of $100 poker chips from an active table where the victim had stepped away to make a phone call.

“He took a picture of his chips before he stepped away,” McClellan said. “Edwards took a stack of $100 chips from the table. There were other people at the table, but the suspect did it so quick no one saw him do it (and) he left the Casino.”

McClellan said video surveillance caught Edwards running away.

“When the victim came back to the table and noticed one stack of his chips was knocked over and some $100 chips were missing, he reported it to the Casino Queen security,” McClellan said.

Edwards arrived at the Casino Queen at 4:02 p.m. and at 4:04 p.m., police allege he stole the poker chips from the table while a game was underway.

Then, later, at 10:45 p.m., a woman made a call to the police department to report a domestic disturbance at her residence in the 1300 block of St. Louis Avenue.

When police arrived, they said they observed Edwards and unrecognized him from the earlier incident.

“I showed (the officers) his picture at Roll Call that morning and told him what he was wanted for,” McCllellan said. “So, when an officer called to confirm he was wanted, I told them to arrest him.”

McClellan said police were previously familiar with Edwards.

Edwards was convicted of a 1989 first-degree murder charge, according to St. Clair County court records. He was sentenced to 30 years in the Department of Corrections.

In 2010, he was arrested for unlawful use of a weapon and sent back to jail for two years. Records show he was released in November 2012.

Carolyn P. Smith has worked for the Belleville News-Democrat for 18 years and currently covers breaking news in the Metro-East. She graduated from the Journalism School at the University of Missouri at Columbia and says news is in her DNA.