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Store owner accused of stealing lottery ticket

Massachusetts LotteryMassachusetts Lottery: Store owner accused of stealing lottery ticket

On Monday morning last week, Elizabeth Gelarderes did exactly what she always does, stop in at Richdale Food Store on her way to work for a regular coffee and a lottery ticket. The self-described ''lottery addict" scrawled onto a ''Cash Winfall" ticket the birth dates of her two children, something she's been doing for at least 10 years.

The next day, she brought the ticket in to see if she'd won. The store's owner, Patrick Simboli, 45, allegedly took the ticket, checked it, and told her that she had won $2.

But that evening, Simboli went to a lottery office in Woburn and cashed in a winning lottery ticket with the same numbers that were on Gelarderes's card, for a $46,000 jackpot, according to North Andover police Lieutenant Paul Gallagher. Police are now pressing charges against Simboli, alleging that he stole Gelarderes's winning ticket, worth $32,000 after taxes. He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in Lawrence District Court.

''That's my little ritual: I buy the ticket; I get a coffee; I go to work. The next morning I come back to see if I've won," Gelarderes said in an interview yesterday. ''I play it faithfully. I don't drink. I don't smoke. This is what I do. And when I finally win, this happens. It's very disheartening."

Simboli did not return messages seeking comment. Lorraine Leahy, a cashier at the store, said yesterday that Simboli wasn't someone who would do this.

''He's got a big, big heart," she said, adding that she had spoken with Simboli recently and that he was ''a little on the mellow side."

Gelarderes is a special-education aide at North Andover High School, something she's done for 24 years. She and her husband, Nicholas, live in Raymond, N.H., and are taking care of her elderly mother.

After seeing the winning lottery numbers from Massachusetts in her local paper, Gelarderes said, she went back to the store May 11 and confronted Simboli. She said that she demanded to have her ticket back, but that Simboli told her that it had already been thrown away.

''This is the biggest she's ever hit," Nicholas Gelarderes said yesterday. ''Now she can't believe he tried to cheat her out of it."

Simboli's busy convenience store is a half-mile from the high school and sells goods ranging from comic books to dog food. A lottery stand is set up in the front corner of the store. Last year it generated $1.6 million in sales, one of the most profitable stores in town.

The lottery machine at the store is difficult to see for customers buying and turning in lottery tickets. The screen that flashes ''winner," which happens when a winning ticket above a certain amount is entered into the machine, is facing away from the customer, making it difficult for people to see if they have won.

The Massachusetts Lottery Commission has suspended sales at the store while the investigation continues. Lottery spokeswoman Beth Bresnahan declined to release many details.

''We're working with the North Andover police and in conversations with the woman making the claim to make sure the prize is given to the proper winner," she said.

Police said Simboli faces felony charges of receiving stolen property and larceny over $250.

Boston Globe

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11 comments. Last comment 12 years ago by CASH Only.
Page 1 of 1
LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
United States
Member #7853
October 15, 2004
11338 Posts
Posted: May 20, 2005, 8:49 am - IP Logged

it amazes me that people trust these clerks,i always check for myself because you never know who you can trust.....

    Tnplayer805's avatar - G 14_v78828750_Small.JPG
    North Dakota
    United States
    Member #13397
    April 5, 2005
    1623 Posts
    Posted: May 20, 2005, 9:12 am - IP Logged

    I'm with you lottomike.  I check my own ticket.  Whether it be scratch or numbers.  I like to make sure what I win really goes to me and not the idiot behind the counter.

    How are you going to win if you don't play?

      konane's avatar - wallace
      Atlanta, GA
      United States
      Member #1265
      March 13, 2003
      3333 Posts
      Posted: May 20, 2005, 9:49 am - IP Logged

      I'm with you two   ....... check your own ticket yourself. 

      Ask the clerk for a printout of the winning numbers for that game if you don't have a computer to check it online.  Most of the time they have them already printed out for customers to take.

      Good luck to everyone!

        United States
        Member #1759
        June 29, 2003
        1156 Posts
        Posted: May 20, 2005, 10:46 am - IP Logged

        Some people are just too trusting when it comes too Lottery tickets they should treat them as if they were REAL money (the same way you treat your paycheck) until you know for sure whether it's a winner or not.

          Coastal Georgia
          United States
          Member #2653
          October 30, 2003
          1866 Posts
          Posted: May 20, 2005, 11:15 am - IP Logged




          All the legal fees, court costs, etc......

          Just b/c you "trust" the clerk ?  No way, Jose'






            jeffrey's avatar - moon
            Hamilton, OH
            United States
            Member #4162
            March 27, 2004
            277 Posts
            Posted: May 20, 2005, 2:01 pm - IP Logged

            Hopefully, the courts will make an example of this man and charge him 10x the winnings and put him in jail for a few years of fun with the rest of the degenerates. I get so sick of this. Why don't they put in scanners that the customers can use?

              BabyJC's avatar - Lottery-031.jpg

              United States
              Member #3271
              January 7, 2004
              148 Posts
              Posted: May 20, 2005, 6:25 pm - IP Logged

              He's facing 10 years in prison and I hope he gets it!  What he did was steal $46,000 from that woman, just as if he stole it from a bank.

              I told my husband a few years ago not to trust the clerks to scan your tickets.  When he heard this story, he said - "Boy, you were right!"  I also think if you give them say 3 tickets to scan, and the first one is a loser, they could keep scanning the first losing ticket, pretending they did each one - Then scan the other two after you leave the store!  If you still have the clerks scan your tickets, always ask for them back no matter what (a lot of people don't)!

                emilyg's avatar - cat anm.gif

                United States
                Member #14
                November 9, 2001
                31355 Posts
                Posted: May 20, 2005, 7:12 pm - IP Logged

                it's not hard to check your own ticket.  always know what you won. 

                love to nibble those micey feet.



                  New Member
                  St. Louis
                  United States
                  Member #2341
                  September 18, 2003
                  15 Posts
                  Posted: May 21, 2005, 1:25 am - IP Logged

                  Luckily our state has those machines to check tickets.

                  There's only two kinds of people that win the lottery, amigos....those that already have money and first time players.


                    United States
                    Member #11733
                    February 22, 2005
                    52 Posts
                    Posted: May 22, 2005, 5:17 pm - IP Logged

                    i live in Mass, and things like this where store owners or clerks doing bad things happens every year or so. jail time for these people, i have a guy in a store where i go tell me that he would play our mega million tickets and i can pick them up in the next morning. I don't think so, he has said this when the machine was down, and he said he would play them later. I mean a 100 dollars for my pool. again no way.

                      United States
                      Member #379
                      June 5, 2002
                      11296 Posts
                      Posted: May 24, 2005, 4:52 pm - IP Logged

                      The Mass Lottery is the most corrupt US lottery, in terms of annuity-only prizes.