A lottery ticket thief may be hoping to claim a big prize, but his winnings, if there are any, will likely get him far more than he bargained for, including a payout that includes possible jail time and a felony record.
The thief is currently holding some 140 scratch-off tickets stolen after an early morning break-in Tuesday at the Delway Trading Company, Delway Highway, Rose Hill.
Sampson sheriff’s reports show the incident took place sometime between when the store closed Monday night and when the break-in was reported, just after midnight Tuesday.
In the incident, someone reportedly broke through a window in the business, causing $800 in damage, went inside and rolled off dozens of scratch off tickets.
In all, 25 Carolina Black, 58 Power 7, 10 10X Payout, 10 Silver Saver, 30 Five Hundred A Week and 10 Quicks were taken, along with three boxes of cigars.
Ironically, even if the thief hits pay dirt with one or more of the tickets, chances are slim to none that he’ll be able to recoup the winnings without being caught in the process.
According to Van Denton, communications director for the N.C. Education Lottery, there is a process that is carried out any time lottery tickets are stolen which, he said, isn’t all that often.
Although he declined to comment about the Delway case, noting that is was an active investigation, Denton did discuss the process that happens when a theft occurs.
“It starts,” Denton said, “with the retailer notifying us that the tickets were stolen.”
Every single lottery ticket is tracked through a centralized system that, Denton said, allows lottery officials to know exactly where each ticket is and when it’s been sold.
“The only thing we don’t know is whether or not it’s a winner. No one can know that until it is scratched off and a prize is revealed.”
In the case of thefts, lottery officials will enter in the code for each ticket, virtually blocking them from being cashed at any location.
“Those tickets would be flagged and clerks at the stores wouldn’t be able to cash them. The person claiming the ticket would be told to come to the Lottery office to claim the prize,” Denton said.
Every ticket, Denton stressed, has its own unique number, making it easy to track them down in case of thefts.
“If everything works as it’s supposed to, it would be extremely unlikely that anyone would be able to cash any winning lottery scratch-off that’s been stolen,” Denton said.
But the thief, if caught, wouldn’t go empty-handed, according to law enforcement officers. A break-in, where items are stolen, is a felony that carries with it likely jail time