Police hit the jackpot in the River Market robbery, nabbing a gambler who tried to redeem stolen lottery tickets -- at the River Market.
Apparently, the thieves who stole about 500 lottery tickets failed to inform buyers of the hot "scratch" rub-off instant games to not cash them in at Market Street's River Market on the Somerset County side of Pocomoke City.
"(Thieves) sold the tickets to the guy, who tried to cash them in. He went to the River Market," said Cpl. Scott Brent, an investigator at the Maryland State Police barrack in Princess Anne.
Brent would not identify the male suspect who attempted to cash in a batch of lottery tickets, saying he was guilty of a crime, but innocent of the Feb. 27 store burglary.
The next day, when the store clerk entered the tickets through a lotto machine to determine the man's winnings, a signal alerted the store the tickets had been stolen, the detective said.
Winning lottery tickets in the man's possession were worth $70, Brent said.
"He was charged with possession of stolen property," he said.
The failed attempt to cash in lottery tickets at the River Market was a lucky break for MSP detectives, who were clueless as to the culprit responsible for the early morning crime that left a broken glass window, a sounding alarm and an empty rack that had held hundreds of lottery tickets.
"A subject not knowing about the burglary attempted to cash some winning lottery tickets," according to a police report. "The subject ... was detained and charged."
The break led police to Pocomoke City residents Omar Alonza Williams, Jermi Bryant and James Edward Crosby, each of whom were charged with burglary, Brent said.
The suspects led police to most of the stolen tickets at the residence of Williams, 22, and Bryant, 19, the detective said. The total price of the tickets was about $1,000 and the value, about $500, police said.
"There were a lot that had not been scratched off yet," Brent said.