In Washington state, police have arrested three people on suspicion of stealing lottery scratch tickets from stores all over King and Snohomish counties, then cashing them in at other stores.
The arrests follow a week-long investigation into the suspected serial lottery ticket thefts by Kirkland police, Bothell police and King County sheriff's detectives.
The investigation began Feb. 7 after Kirkland police responded to a theft of lottery scratch tickets from a Kirkland gas station in the 3800 block of Lake Washington Boulevard NE, police said.
Officers found that multiple $20 lottery tickets were stolen from the business and the winning tickets were later cashed at another business in the 12100 block of 120th Avenue NE. in Kirkland.
Surveillance footage was collected from the gas station and the business where the tickets were cashed.
Further investigation determined that similar events had occurred in Sammamish, Bothell, Kirkland and at several locations in Snohomish County.
The suspects would distract the cashiers at the stores and one of the suspects would go behind the counter and steal lottery scratch tickets, Kirkland police said.
Surveillance footage was collected from several locations in different cities. After reviewing the surveillance footage and follow-up investigation by the law enforcement agencies, the suspects were identified as two 22-year-old men and a 22-year-old woman from Redmond.
On Wednesday, during surveillance of the suspects' residence, Redmond police officer saw the three suspects driving in the area.
A traffic stop was made, and a large number of $20 lottery scratch tickets were found inside the suspects' vehicle. The tickets were found to have been stolen from a store in Mukilteo that evening.
The suspects were arrested on suspicion of theft and gambling fraud.
The names of the suspects have not been released.
An investigation is continuing into similar thefts throughout King and Snohomish Counties.