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Philadelphia woman facing 53 charges for threatening PA Lottery

Pennsylvania LotteryPennsylvania Lottery: Philadelphia woman facing 53 charges for threatening PA Lottery
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HARRISBURG, Pa. — A woman who repeatedly aired her frustration at failing to win a jackpot by making obscene and violent threats against Pennsylvania Lottery headquarters faces 53 charges, police said Wednesday.

Towanda Shields, 47, made dozens of calls over the past eight months to the agency's offices outside Harrisburg, police in Lower Swatara Township said.

"From the calls and stuff I've listened to, she's basically completely obsessed with the lottery and the fact that she doesn't win upsets her very much," Detective Robert Appleby said. "She would get really sexually explicit with her insults."

Appleby said that in late October, Shields said someone would die at the retail store where she buys tickets. He said she has also told lottery employees she had searched for them online, knew where they lived and had hired someone to hurt their family members.

Shields, of Philadelphia, has defended her right to make the calls on free-speech grounds, Appleby said. She does not appear to have a listed phone number.

"She basically taunted me the one time when I spoke to her as well — 'I switch phones. Y'all will never figure out where I am,'" Appleby said.

Although Shields has used anonymous burner phones, authorities were able to determine her identity.

"Honestly, had she not made some of the comments she made in the messages, it might have been a lot harder," he said.

Police on Tuesday filed 25 counts each of harassment and stalking, as well as three counts of making terroristic threats. She left 21 voicemails at lottery headquarters and reached people eight to 12 times, Appleby said.

"Fifty-three counts is a lot of counts, but I can assure you she's earned them," he said.

The detective said Shields' main interest is in scratch-off tickets.

At the end of some of her threatening calls, he said, she signed off with a lottery advertisement catchphrase: "Keep on scratchin'."

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

Thanks to Jodi for the tip.

AP, Lottery Post Staff

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25 comments. Last comment 11 days ago by savagegoose.
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luckyshoes's avatar - nw lady.jpg
Pennsylvania
United States
Member #79502
September 2, 2009
6446 Posts
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Posted: January 4, 2017, 8:43 pm - IP Logged

I'd say she has a gambling addiction Crazy

    Kingofearth's avatar - Kinnak
    Upstate NY
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    May 5, 2016
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    Posted: January 4, 2017, 8:51 pm - IP Logged

    I'd say she has a gambling addiction Crazy

    And an angry temper.

    It's one thing to spend loads of money on tickets, it's a whole different problem to threaten and harass the people who are just doing their jobs.

      wander73's avatar - Lottery-038.jpg
      Philadelphia, PA
      United States
      Member #153774
      March 24, 2014
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      Posted: January 4, 2017, 9:00 pm - IP Logged

      I don't really watch news but wonder what part she lives in

        mypiemaster's avatar - 2015021003pileofcash
        JACKPOT HUNTER

        United States
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        April 2, 2013
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        Posted: January 4, 2017, 9:07 pm - IP Logged

        A little NUTTY?  You think?

        Seek and ye shall find -Matt. 7:7 ...Ask and ye shall receive -John 16:24 ...Give and it shall be given unto you -Luke 6:38 ...Be careful what you ask for!!! -Mypiemaster 1:1

        Having Money Solves Problems That Not Having Money Creates Yes Nod ****John Carlton****

          TheGameGrl's avatar - character catafly.jpg
          A long and winding road
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          Posted: January 4, 2017, 10:48 pm - IP Logged

          De- Escalation class 101 would have resolved this for each side.

          i get the ladies frustration , I don't get her desire to threaten. 

          sorry to read it got this far.

          ~~Is it true, Is it kind,Is it necessary. ~~~

          pa:888,4445,6132,4444,8008

            music*'s avatar - nw bookeep.jpg
            Happy California
            United States
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            August 2, 2014
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            Posted: January 4, 2017, 10:59 pm - IP Logged

            "three counts of making terroristic threats" In this day and age these counts will put you into prison for five years. 

             I agree that she needs mental health help. 

            Confused

             Chi ha danari, trova cugini. (He who has money finds many cousins.) Italian proverb

              hearsetrax's avatar - 0118

              United States
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              May 21, 2007
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              Posted: January 5, 2017, 5:17 am - IP Logged

              Twitch what a freak of nature ...... god must've been doing some serious drinking the day he put her together

                Avatar
                USA
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                January 16, 2016
                115 Posts
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                Posted: January 5, 2017, 7:53 am - IP Logged

                WOW, She Needs to be In a NUT HOUSE FOR SURE!

                UNBELIEVABLE...........

                 CAN'T Wait till a LP POSTER WINS BIG Party

                  cbr$'s avatar - maren
                  Cordova,Al.
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                  January 15, 2011
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                  Posted: January 5, 2017, 2:01 pm - IP Logged
                  I get the angry , the frustration, and she is acting like she has mental
                  issues. If she want attention she just get it. I don't get terrorist threats.
                  Or anonymous burner phones, where authorities could still get her
                  identity.
                  This is just my opinion. True Terrorist fight for a cause. They are here to
                  commit destruction and sabotage when their demands aren't given. They
                  are all in for their cause. They are ready to make the supreme sacrifice,
                  their life and your. Terrorist you're dealing with a shrewd individual. They
                  have a contingency plan to complete their mission at all cost. There is no
                  strategy here. Yes ,she did threaten the PA. Lottery. But that isn't a 
                  National threat.
                    HaveABall's avatar - rocket

                    United States
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                    March 18, 2009
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                    Posted: January 5, 2017, 2:33 pm - IP Logged

                    Ugh!  Another highly frustrated and desperate gambler who: NEEDS a big lottery payout gain, justifies buying multiple mobile phones, and uses the phones to threaten several mere employees who can't play the lottery or send money from there to people who make themself sound desperate/menacing enough!

                    Mad

                    Having several millions of dollars in my financial accounts means receiving several valuable services each day!

                    Disney

                      Avatar
                      South Carolina
                      United States
                      Member #18322
                      July 9, 2005
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                      Posted: January 5, 2017, 5:21 pm - IP Logged

                      The woman clearly has a mental problem.

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                        Simpsonville
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                        January 22, 2015
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                        Posted: January 5, 2017, 6:29 pm - IP Logged

                        WOW, She Needs to be In a NUT HOUSE FOR SURE!

                        UNBELIEVABLE...........

                        Next thing you know it will come out she's on public assistance.

                          hearsetrax's avatar - 0118

                          United States
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                          May 21, 2007
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                          Posted: January 5, 2017, 8:02 pm - IP Logged

                          Next thing you know it will come out she's on public assistance.

                          dunno about all that .....

                          but she looks like someone with issues with keeping money in her pocket,let alone an address

                            MADDOG10's avatar - smoke
                            Beautiful Florida
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                            July 18, 2004
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                            Posted: January 5, 2017, 8:10 pm - IP Logged
                            I get the angry , the frustration, and she is acting like she has mental
                            issues. If she want attention she just get it. I don't get terrorist threats.
                            Or anonymous burner phones, where authorities could still get her
                            identity.
                            This is just my opinion. True Terrorist fight for a cause. They are here to
                            commit destruction and sabotage when their demands aren't given. They
                            are all in for their cause. They are ready to make the supreme sacrifice,
                            their life and your. Terrorist you're dealing with a shrewd individual. They
                            have a contingency plan to complete their mission at all cost. There is no
                            strategy here. Yes ,she did threaten the PA. Lottery. But that isn't a 
                            National threat.

                            Actually cbr$,

                                   You can point a finger at someone and it's considered a terroristic Threat.

                                                                         

                                                                           " You can not control the Wind, but you can direct the Sail "