Nashua, N.H., bingo hall robbery thwarted when employee snatches robber’s gun

A father and his son allegedly attempted to rob a Nashua, N.H., bingo hall and threatened to blow it up while 300 people were inside, an incident that ended when one employee grabbed the father’s handgun and employees fought with him, Nashua police said.

Charles Preston, 46, was charged with armed robbery and false report of an explosive, and his son Justin Preston, 20, was charged with criminal liability to an armed robbery, Nashua Police Lieutenant Denis Linehan said.

Father and son are scheduled to appear in a Nashua courthouse today.

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According to police, the incident began around 8:30 p.m. Saturday. A patrol officer noticed the younger Preston acting suspiciously outside the Eagles Wing Function Center. The officer stayed in place, monitoring the younger Preston, Linehan said.

Police said the elder Preston had walked inside the hall and approached an office where two employees were counting money. Preston then pulled out a handgun and demanded the money from the employees, who handed over cash.

Preston put his gun down to free up his hands so he could collect the cash and stash it in a cooler he had brought with him. At that point, Linehan said, one of the employees grabbed the gun.

The employees then began fighting with Preston, police said. Additional employees approached the office and also became involved, police said. At that point, the elder Preston told the employees he had a bomb strapped to his chest and would blow everyone up, Linehan said.

Meanwhile, an employee called 911 and the officer monitoring the younger Preston rushed inside, followed quickly by other Nashua officers, Linehan said.

Both father and son were arrested. The entire ordeal lasted about five minutes, Linehan said.