If you bought a lottery ticket in Paterson last week, double check your numbers.
State lottery officials are waiting for the winner of the $24 million Mega Millions jackpot to claim their prize, officials said yesterday.
The winning ticket -- 12-32-37-41-52 and Mega Ball 13 -- for Friday's drawing was sold at the Quik Mart on Mill Street, lottery officials said. The convenience store sits on a brick-faced strip mall with a dentist and podiatrist office, a cafe and a laundromat.
Quik Mart owner Rakesh Patel stands to collect a $10,000 bonus for selling the ticket. The windfall will go toward filling some of the sparse shelves with more snacks and other items, said his father, Punam Patel.
No one has stepped forward to collect the cash prize, said Jaimee Gilmartin, a spokeswoman for New Jersey Lottery.
"Sometimes it takes a day. Sometimes it takes a week. You never know," Gilmartin said.
The younger Patel said he thought the winner was probably someone who worked in one of the matching brick buildings that house some state and city offices in the neighborhood. His father, who helps his son at the store on Sundays, said he thought the winner was biding their time and plotting how to spend the money.
The odds of buying the winning Mega Millions jackpot ticket are 1 in 135 million, according to state figures, but Quik Mart customers said yesterday games of chance had nothing to do with having the Midas touch.
"It's not luck. It was just (the winner's) time," said James Pickett, 56, who bought some Cash-5 tickets.
"The secret to winning is being consistent," said Lysinda Smith, who lives in Maplewood and stopped in to check the Mega Millions numbers and buy more tickets. "I play so I can look forward to winning."
Evelyn Hernandez guessed the big winner was not a regular.
"People that never play -- those are the ones who win," she said.