VIDEO: Fresno store clerk steals over $100,000 in lottery scratchers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The store clerk rips ticket after ticket and is seen on camera scanning each one of them in hopes of hitting the jackpot.

Instead, Fresno Police say 37-year-old Mantej Singh won a trip to jail after he was arrested for stealing more than $100,000 worth of lottery scratchers.

"It was after the time that the books were closed out that between that time and 2 a.m. when additional packs would get scanned an activated," said officer Martin Van Overbeek.

Singh was an employee at the Fast and Easy Convenience store off Shields and Armstrong avenues.

Overbeek says the store owner's attorney contacted authorities a week ago, concerned the employee was embezzling money.

"The store owner thought they were receiving a high number of payout for lottery tickets, and they didn't coincide with what the books were showing," he said.

Scanning machines can quickly determine winning tickets and police say that's how Singh was able to go through rolls of scratches without scratching them first.

He's seen on surveillance camera, tossing the duds in the trash.

Overbeek says he would then cash in the winning tickets either at work, or several other locations around the city.

The arrest came as a surprise for frequent customers like Tina Hernandez, who has won some money at the store.

"When he scanned my ticket, he told the other later "You see, people do win,'" Hernandez said. "He was very nice. He was friendly; he'd wish you luck every time you bought a ticket."

The owner of the store declined to speak on camera, and Fresno County sheriff's officials say Singh bailed out of jail Monday night.

Action News tried to contact him, but he didn't return our calls.

Hernandez says its a sad situation and wishes both the clerk and store owner luck.

"Us as customers who honestly spend our money there and have good faith in being a frequent's unfortunate," she said.

Police say Singh admitted to the crime but didn't say why he stole the tickets.

While he walks free, Singh still faces grand theft and embezzlement charges.
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