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Man Picks $1 Million Lottery Ticket Out Of Trash

Oct 15, 2005, 4:36 pm

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Massachusetts LotteryMassachusetts Lottery: Man Picks $1 Million Lottery Ticket Out Of Trash

For the last couple of months, the gray-haired old man has been a regular morning sight for passersby, his arm thrust deep into the trash barrel outside the White Hen Pantry on Main Street as he fishes for discarded lottery tickets.

But lately 83-year-old Edward St. John has been doing his best to disappear.

As he sifted through the throwaways in front of the convenience store earlier this week, St. John picked out a $1 million winner, and now he's trying to keep a low profile. The winner was on one of the Massachusetts Lottery's "instant" games, or "scratch" tickets.

"That's me, I'm the guy," St. John said as he answered the door of his dormitory-size apartment in a nearby housing complex last night, clad in a white-tank top T-shirt and a pair of taupe khakis. "I don't want pictures taken, nothing, not a thing."

"All I'm interested in," St. John said, "is getting that thing over to Braintree," where the headquarters of the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission are located.

But St. John's treasure-in-a-trash-barrel story is already the talk of the town, and practically everybody — from residents of Early Village to folks at Family Grocery — has heard of his winning pick. Most of his neighbors seem to know who he is, even if they don't know his name.

"That's his car, right there," said a neighbor packing boxes onto a truck in the parking lot. "I don't know his name, but that's his car."

Part of the story going around town, however,

is that there are troubles ahead for St. John when he tries to claim his prize.

At the White Hen Pantry, the manager initially posted a photocopy of the winning ticket on the wall, like all the other store's big winners. A day or two later, the photocopy was removed from the display window. The word is that someone who claims to have purchased the ticket — and then threw it away — plans to file a legal action to reclaim the property.

The store apparently removed the photocopy of the ticket on orders from White Hen's corporate honchos in Sharon, Mass.

"Everybody's coming into the store and asking about it and I'm telling them the same thing," said Bob Penta, the manager of the store. "I'm not talking about it. There's a gag order in effect."

A gag order?

Penta declined to elaborate, however, referring questions to the vice president of White Hen Pantry stores, Eric Rosalind, who did not return telephone calls.

To town residents, St. John is a familiar sight on Main Street, fishing through the trash while customers stop by the White Hen for morning coffee and Keno chances. Often, he is seen wearing a gray hat and a trench coat.

"It gives me something to do," St. John explains.

He said he has heard nothing about a looming legal battle to challenge the rightful ownership of his prize — information that seems to surprise him. "Is that so?" he says with the decisive tone of someone ready to do combat.

But if there is such a battle, the court of public opinion already seems to be siding with St. John.

To Richard Ravenelle, it's a clear case of finders-keepers-losers-weepers.

"The way I see it, it belongs to the old man," said Ravenelle, who owns an apartment house not far from the White Hen. "I don't see it any other way. How are you ever going to prove who threw it away? You can't."

Ravenelle didn't know St. John's name, but when he heard of the amazing discovery through the grapevine a couple of days ago, it made sense he was the lucky man. Ravenelle says he often sees St. John in the morning on his way to work, his hand thrust elbow-deep into the convenience store's trash barrel.

From the man's threadbare appearance, Ravenelle figured the guy lived in one of the subsidized apartments for senior citizens nearby, or he might even be homeless.

"He seemed kind of down on his luck," he said.

Woondocket Call

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25 comments. Last comment 15 years ago by justxploring.
Page 1 of 2
Bradly_60's avatar - disney37
Atlantic Mine, Michigan
United States
Member #416
June 23, 2002
1614 Posts
Posted: October 15, 2005, 4:41 pm - IP Logged

Well if the person that threw it away gets the money I will be very disgusted.

Unless if the person signed the back of the ticket its a bearers insturment.  If you can't tell you won $1,000,000 then you don't deserve to have it anyway.  The guy that found it better get the money for it.


    Sparta, NJ
    United States
    Member #18330
    July 9, 2005
    1977 Posts
    Posted: October 15, 2005, 4:56 pm - IP Logged

    Totally agree


    |||::> *'`*:-.,_,.-:*''*:--->>> Chewie  <<<---.*''*:-.,_,.-:*''* <:::|||

    I only trust myself - and that's a questionable choice

      Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
      United States
      Member #487
      July 15, 2002
      17638 Posts
      Posted: October 15, 2005, 5:12 pm - IP Logged

      That will teach them to "READ"!!!!ROFL  I have found my share of "money in the trash too..LOL

      If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

      You never know when you will get another hit.

        bellyache's avatar - 64x64a9wg

        United States
        Member #12618
        March 18, 2005
        2060 Posts
        Posted: October 15, 2005, 5:26 pm - IP Logged

        I hope St. John gets to keep it. If someone can't bother to check and double check their tickets and they throw it away that is their loss.

        Dance like no one is watching.

          Tenaj's avatar - michellea
          Charlotte NC
          United States
          Member #17405
          June 18, 2005
          4070 Posts
          Posted: October 15, 2005, 5:42 pm - IP Logged




            United States
            Member #3291
            January 8, 2004
            71 Posts
            Posted: October 15, 2005, 5:48 pm - IP Logged

            yea i agree, unless he signed the back of it.. then the other guy should be able to keep it.

            <Shameless self promotion :)>. Want to get an Edge in Mega Millions ? Try Mega Lotto Assistant. Coded by yours truly. </Shameless self promotion>

              mken32's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
              I dont know where
              United States
              Member #1702
              June 18, 2003
              103 Posts
              Posted: October 15, 2005, 8:36 pm - IP Logged

              I Agree!

                LANTERN's avatar - kilroy 28_173_reasonably_small.jpg
                United States
                Member #4570
                May 4, 2004
                5180 Posts
                Posted: October 15, 2005, 9:06 pm - IP Logged

                The money belongs to St. John of course, there is no question about it.

                Good luck to him.

                BibleOnline  ParishesOnline  ChristianRadioOnline   MassOnline   Mass

                "Ten measures of beauty descended to the world, nine were taken by Jerusalem."

                  new delhi
                  Member #22144
                  September 20, 2005
                  174 Posts
                  Posted: October 15, 2005, 9:12 pm - IP Logged

                  finders keepers.


                    United States
                    Member #972
                    December 30, 2002
                    468 Posts
                    Posted: October 15, 2005, 9:59 pm - IP Logged

                    Despite several stories in the news over the past few years about lost tickets (and one of them was in Mass), people do not learn.  If you find a winning ticket, do not tell anyone. Even though lottery rules are on your side, you are inviting a lawsuit. Quietly sign it, keep it for a month or 2,  then cash it in. 

                      wizeguy's avatar - animaniacs04

                      United States
                      Member #15143
                      May 10, 2005
                      454 Posts
                      Posted: October 15, 2005, 10:03 pm - IP Logged

                      Quick St. John , wipe the fingerprints off the ticket! Thumbs Up


                        konane's avatar - wallace
                        Atlanta, GA
                        United States
                        Member #1265
                        March 13, 2003
                        5811 Posts
                        Posted: October 15, 2005, 10:55 pm - IP Logged

                        Despite several stories in the news over the past few years about lost tickets (and one of them was in Mass), people do not learn.  If you find a winning ticket, do not tell anyone. Even though lottery rules are on your side, you are inviting a lawsuit. Quietly sign it, keep it for a month or 2,  then cash it in. 

                        "If you find a winning ticket, do not tell anyone. Even though lottery rules are on your side, you are inviting a lawsuit. Quietly sign it, keep it for a month or 2,  then cash it in."


                            I Agree!   

                        Have fun and the best of luck to everyone! Sun Smiley

                          emilyg's avatar - cat anm.gif

                          United States
                          Member #14
                          November 9, 2001
                          31615 Posts
                          Posted: October 15, 2005, 11:12 pm - IP Logged

                          great story - he should keep it all

                          love to nibble those micey feet.



                            New Member
                            United States
                            Member #21472
                            September 9, 2005
                            2 Posts
                            Posted: October 15, 2005, 11:40 pm - IP Logged
                            good luck you found it you keep it enjoy it dont stop checking the bins.