Shop clerk accused of stealing $3m winning lottery ticket left by customer

A shop assistant allegedly stole a lotttery ticket that scooped a massive prize.   (PA Archive)
A shop assistant allegedly stole a lotttery ticket that scooped a massive prize. (PA Archive)

A store clerk and colleague are accused of stealing a $3m (£2.4m) lottery ticket left behind by a customer.

Lottery officials in Massachusetts contacted police after Carly Nunes, 23, presented a ticket and claimed the prize.

Ms Nunes and colleague Joseph Reddem, 32, have been charged with offences in connection with the claim.

The original buyer of the ticket has been identified and will claim his prize as intended.

Plymouth County prosecutors said the man had purchased four tickets as well as a bag of crisps from the Savas Liquors store in Lakeville on 17 January.

Ms Nunes, the clerk at the checkout counter, allegedly rang up the order but gave him only two tickets, and the man left the store without his winning tickets.

That evening, his Mass Millions numbers were called and the man searched for the tickets but concluded he must have lost them.

Two days later, Mr Reddem drove Ms Nunes and her boyfriend to the state lottery headquarters, where she submitted her claim and redeemed the prize.

Officials overheard Mr Reddem demanding a share of the jackpot from Ms Nunes in the building’s lobby.

She allegedly said she would “only pay him $200,000”, prosecutors said.

The alarm was was raised after lottery investigators also questioned Ms Nunes over the poor condition of her ticket which had burn marks.

Surveillance video from Savas Liquors soon revealed how Ms Nunes had obtained the ticket and, in a follow-up interview, she told police she had “inadvertently obtained” the ticket, the prosecution claim.

A grand jury indicted Ms Nuneson one count each of larceny from a building, attempted larceny, presentation of a false claim and witness intimidation, and Mr Reddem on one count of attempted extortion. They will be arraigned at a later date.

Police spent nearly a month working to find the true owner of the winning ticket, canvassing the area, posting flyers of the man seen in surveillance footage and questioning local residents.

The Massachusetts State Lottery Commission has said it will honour his claim to the $3m jackpot.