FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Neon lottery signs hang in front of R&L Market in Fresno County. Detectives said the promise of quick money enticed thieves to break in.
"They go straight to the counter where the lotto tickets are kept, they grab as many as they can and they take off," said Tony Botti, Fresno County Sheriff's Office.
Between December 16th and the 23rd the thieves hit three times, choosing small convenience stores on the outskirts of Fresno County.
EZ Stop Mini Mart captured one man in the act. The owners said he made off with $200 of their most expensive scratch offs.
"The good thing for us is that lottery tickets are easy to track. Once you obviously go to cash them, they go through the state system," said Botti.
The suspects tried redeeming the stolen tickets at four convenience stores-- all of them happened to have security cameras. It's a trend deputies are seeing more and more and one of many tools they say store clerks should use.
"Be aware of what they are doing, if they are coming in with a bunch of lotto tickets at one time and are trying to cash them in that should be a red flag," said Botti.
So far, all of the tickets are being cashed in around Central Fresno.
Deputies hope the videos will expose them before hundreds of dollars' worth of thefts turns into the thousands.
"We need to get these people off the streets, because we know that people who burglarize places can also be violent too. If they really want something and somebody gets in their way, they can get hurt," said Botti.
Detectives said since all of the cashing-in happened in Central Fresno it is possible the suspects live there.
Anyone who recognizes them is asked to call the sheriff's office.