HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Could somebody be carrying a $254 million lottery ticket and not even know it? Did they buy the ticket while passing through the state and forget about it? Or is the winner of the biggest jackpot in Connecticut history taking time to consult first with a financial adviser?
The search is still on for the winner of the Nov. 2 Powerball drawing, with billboards across the state urging the ticket holder to step forward and end the mystery.
The person who bought the ticket at an undisclosed location in Fairfield County has six months to claim the prize, which ranks as the 12th biggest jackpot in Powerball history. If no winner comes forward by April 30, the money would go back to the states that fed the pot.
At convenience stores across southwest Connecticut, rumors have been swirling about unlucky souls who had the winning combination — 12-14-34-39-46, Powerball 36 — only to lose the ticket. But a spokeswoman for the Connecticut Lottery Corporation said that nobody has contacted headquarters so far to make a claim.
"We're on a kind of holding pattern until they come in," spokeswoman Linda Tarnowski said.
Lottery officials have urged people to check their Powerball tickets through messages on billboards and display screens at 2,700 retailers across the state.
Although nearly two weeks have passed since the drawing, Tarnowski said there are countless possible explanations for the delay.
"You really don't know. Someone could have gone in with a group and they're waiting to split it up. Maybe they're talking to a financial adviser or attorney. It could be they're waiting for a new tax year," she said. "You just hope that it is someone in the state of Connecticut who has it."
The $254.2 million prize is by far the biggest lottery jackpot ever in Connecticut, where the previous record was a $59.5 million Powerball jackpot in June 2005. The winner can claim a $254.2 million annuity paid over 29 years or a lump sum of nearly $152 million in cash.
At a 7-Eleven in Danbury, owner Abu Sayed said a 21-year-old customer claimed to have lost the winning ticket. Other customers have been discussing the merits of his claim and, if true, how it would affect him to win so much money at such a young age. Sayed said it's possible that customer had the winning ticket, but he should have to prove it.
"To get that money, his responsibility is to show the ticket. If he lost it, it is his fault," he said.
Convenience store owner Lalo Patel in Stratford said the unclaimed ticket comes up every day in conversation among his customers. Many are skeptical of another person in Stamford who was rumored to have lost the winning ticket. But he said everyone is excited.
"They are all happy that somebody finally won from Connecticut," he said.