Selling a $4 million scratch ticket at the Hilltop Package Store in Wareham could have brought instant fortune to a lucky customer and a cool $40,000 commission to the store's owner, Paul Hurley.
But the Hold'Em Poker lottery ticket was among hundreds stolen two weeks ago from the Hilltop and other stores in town.
Wareham police have arrested a teenager who allegedly gave the unscratched winning ticket to a friend, who tried to cash it at another store, Hurley said.
''It's like getting robbed twice," he said yesterday.
When Hurley reported the robbery to police, he said, he jokingly told them, '' 'Yeah, watch, it will be a winning ticket they'll steal.' The next day the detective called me and asked if I was sitting down."
The store hasn't sold a big winner in 13 years of business.
Wareham police have arrested Jared Sherman, 17, of Wareham, and charged him with two counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime for felony, two counts of larceny from a building, receiving stolen property over $250, and receiving stolen property under $250, according to a report Saturday in The Enterprise of Brockton.
Wareham Police Detective William DeSilva, who handled the investigation, could not be reached yesterday for comment.
Beth Bresnahan, a spokeswoman for the state Lottery, said she did not have enough information to comment.
The robber threw a rock through the window of the front door of the Hilltop Package Store, dashed in, and grabbed 117 scratch tickets and nothing else, while the security alarm sounded in the early morning of April 17, Hurley said.
Because a few scratch tickets were stolen from each of the rolls, all the tickets from those rolls are no good.
Hurley said many people in the neighborhood regularly come in and buy scratch tickets.
''I kind of feel everyone got robbed, not just me but the neighborhood people, too," he said.
''There are a lot of working-class people looking for the American dream, wanting to get rich. Four million dollars would put you on the road to that."
Bresnahan said customers who legitimately bought tickets off those rolls can file claims for any winnings.