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Lottery ticket thief caught

A North Carolina convenience store owner faces the prospect of criminal action after being exposed by lottery investigators and his victim received a very pleasant $88,000 surprise on lotto numbers she thought had been unsuccessful, reports the Lottery Post this week.

Kecia Nehring Parker's consistency in using the same lucky numbers on her lotto ticket selections paid off big time, not only in winning her a $88,000 prize, but in assisting lottery investigators to find her when they suspected foul play at a convenience store.

Parker bought her winning ticket in the North Carolina State Education Lottery back in August last year during a family vacation in Carolina Beach, but was told by local store owner Sureshbha Patel that it was not a winner. Patel held on to the winning ticket until February 2011 before presenting it for payment, only to find to his cost that when ticket sellers claim prizes an additional level of security is applied.

Lottery spokesman Van Denton declined to detail the enhanced security procedures but said the prize was never awarded to Patel. Lottery sales were indefinitely suspended at his outlet on Wednesday this week.

Investigators managed to locate the real winner of the ticket - Parker - aided by her playing style.

Ever since North Carolina's lottery began in 2006, Parker has played the same five numbers every week, almost always buying her tickets at the same location on Saturday mornings. That location - different from Patel's store - was able to provide investigators with months of surveillance footage showing Parker coming in to play her usual combination of 9-13-16-17-21 in the Cash 5 game.

Parker was delighted but surprised by the news that she had been, after all, a big winner. "I had no idea I had won," Parker said. "I didn't check my tickets anymore. I just let them scan them in and tell me."

Parker, who has two children, plans to put the money aside for college costs.

Dunn police spokesmen said that Patel was arrested and charged with felony larceny and attempting to obtain property by false pretenses. He was freed pending trial after posting a $50,000 bond.

Source: InfoPowa News

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