On Camera: Crook steals lotto scratchers, men cash in

November 28, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
State investigators and the Madera County Sheriff's Office are tracking a lottery thief, and the men cashing in the stolen scratchers.

The tickets were stolen at 4 o'clock Wednesday morning. Since then, the Madera County Sheriff's Office says two men have cashed the stolen lotto tickets at 17 stores in the Fresno area.

In the surveillance video a man is seen inside for just a few seconds. The man in the video quickly makes off with 10 stacks of California state lottery scratchers.

In video from a convenience store in Central Fresno two men are seen cashing in the stolen scratchers. The Madera County Sheriff's Office is looking for the two men. So far, authorities say the pair has pocketed at least a thousand dollars.

"That's not to say this may be the individual who actually stole the lottery tickets, but they're randomly cashing them wherever they can," said MCSO spokesperson Erica Stuart.

The sheriff's office says the tickets were stolen from the 22 Mile House store along Highway 41.

Several cameras were rolling at four in the morning when the man smashed through the front door to take the scratchers. The video at this store was not clear enough to see the man's face.

"This was so brazen, he literally, physically bashes right through the window to take this stuff. The deputies seemed to think he knew... He just wanted those lottery tickets," Stuart said.

The sheriff's office says this is just one of several brazen crimes to hit the county in the past few weeks. Two weeks ago, two masked men broke through a window and stole an ATM from inside a convenience store. And at the beginning of the month, two clerks were stabbed during an armed robbery at this market on Pecan Avenue and Highway 145.

State lottery officials told Action News the stolen tickets amount to $1,800. And most likely the state, not the convenience stores, will end up eating the cost of the theft.

The stolen tickets are now flagged and investigators say they hope to catch up to the men in the video soon.


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