A Florida convenience store customer scratched off a winning ticket two weeks ago. But since he cashed in the winning lottery ticket, there's been trouble.
After the winner cashed in his 5-hundred dollar prize, the ticket was stolen. A second man now admits he took the ticket and also cashed it in.
Lottery tickets are big business at Pat's Kwik Stop. According to Ravi Patel, the store'sowner, lottery ticket sales amount to "Something like 800, 900 dollars a day."
Patel has owned the Nothwest Gainesville convince store for four months. He proudly displays the names of his customers that have hit the jackpot. Until recently he also displayed winning scratch off tickets. "I got two winners for the two-thousand cash play 4 and one-thousand for the set for life."
But one recent winner on diplay was stolen from Patel's counter.
He called police after receiving a letter from Florida Lotto saying the scratch off winner had been cashed in twice.
Police say John Allen Baker took the ticket. Sgt. Keith Kameg is the Gainesville Police Department Spokesperson, "He took it to the lottery office. Cashed it and left a paper trail about two miles long."
Investigators say Baker told them why he committed the felony theft. Kameg says, "Our defendant went in, was frustrated because he had been buying lottery tickets and hadn't won anything so he decided he would take the ticket."
Patel says he sees customers spend big money hoping to strike it rich all the time. "When the people win it is the temptation to is more and more to the people so they buy more and more."
While the theft has been stressful for the new business owner, he says it will only change procedures slightly. "Because of the problem we don't display. I'm not going to display anything."
Police suggest that store owners voided out winning scratch offs before putting them on diplay. They also point out how easy it was to track down the criminal after he collected the cash.