The owner of a Pop Mart convenience store just 40 miles south of Raleigh has been accused of theft of a winning lottery ticket in order to cash it himself. He was charged last week with obtaining property by false pretense and felony larceny. The real owner of the ticket in question stands to claim nearly $90,000.
The police investigation suggests the winning Carolina Cash 5 lotto ticket was purchased a few hours away from the Dunn, North Carolina Pop Mart at a different location out on the coast this past summer. The report claims a woman had bought this ticket in Carolina Beach back in August and had attempted to cash it at the Dunn Pop Mart shortly thereafter.
His word against hers?
Upon attempting to claim her prize, the woman claims she was told by the store owner that she was mistaken and that her numbers did not match the winning numbers for that week. Police are accusing the store owner of theft, alleging he kept the ticket for himself. They claim he walked into the North Carolina Education Lottery office in Raleigh on February 8th with the ticket in question, attempting to claim nearly $90,000 in prize money.
The store owner informed lottery officials he had purchased the ticket, though they became suspicious of the man for reasons unknown. He left the lottery office after he realized he was not going to be able to cash in his winnings that day.
The woman claiming the ticket as her own says that the numbers played are the same numbers she plays weekly at a different gas station in Dunn. North Carolina Lottery officials have validated the fact that these numbers are indeed played weekly at that gas station. However, the woman's claim that she is actually the person playing those numbers has yet to be substantiated and will ultimately be decided in court.
The convenience store owner was released last week on $50,000 bond. Lottery ticket sales have been suspended at his location pending results of criminal proceedings.
Source: WRAL.com "Police: Dunn store owner pocketed winning lottery ticket" 3/17/11