A Cape May County grocery sold one of four winning tickets that will divide Friday's near-record $330 million jackpot in the multistate Mega Millions Lottery, New Jersey lottery officials said.
The owner of the ticket, expected to be worth $82.5 million in 26 annual installments, had not stepped forward by last evening, lottery spokesman Dominick DeMarco said. "Folks take their time sometimes," he said.
For the store, the brush with fortune turned an ordinary Labor Day weekend into an event.
"It's been like a mob scene here all day: reporters, TV cameras, phone ringing off the hook," said Patti Jackson, manager of the store, Blitz's Hole in the Wall. It is in the Villas, a year-round community near Wildwood.
Jackson said one caller had told her that he was the winner. "He just wanted to know what to do. He'd tried calling the lottery, and no one answered on the weekend," she said. Jackson said she had recognized the caller as a usual customer, but could not identify him.
DeMarco said state officials advised players to proceed cautiously if they believe they have a jackpot-winning ticket.
"We try to tell people: When you realize you've got it, sign the back, and put it in a safe place," he said. "Take your time. Take a breath. Your life has just changed. You now have $82 million more than you had last week."
If the jackpot size doesn't change, that ticket will bring payments of about $3.2 million a year for 26 years, DeMarco said. If the winners want their one-fourth shares right away, each would be worth $48.6 million — pretax, that is.
The New Jersey winner will share in the prize with winners who bought tickets in Baltimore, Houston and Virginia, DeMarco said. The prize is the second-largest ever for the 12-state lottery, behind $390 million won in March, he said.
"We're all still in shock," said Nick DiRenzo, a Roman Catholic High School teacher whose father, Frank, owns the store and six others in Cape May County.
For selling a jackpot winner, Blitz's Hole in the Wall will get a check for $10,000, DeMarco said.
It's a welcome award, Nick DiRenzo said.
"It's better than nothing — my tickets were losers," he said.