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Man threw away $1.25 million worth of lottery tickets

Apr 13, 2014, 9:13 am

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Pennsylvania Lottery

A Pennsylvania man mistakenly threw $1.25 million worth of winning lottery tickets in the trash.

The guy, it goes without saying, was pretty upset.

"Wouldn't you be," said Wendy Hinton, who works at Zhou Grocery on South Queen Street in York.

On March 13, 2013, she sold 25 Quinto tickets — numbers 4-3-4-1-8 — to one of her regular customers, a man who, at the time, lived a couple of blocks from the corner store. She remembered because he played the same numbers every day — their significance, not known — and always bought a bunch of tickets with the same numbers — sometimes 20, other times 25 — among his daily lottery purchases that totaled about $100 a day.

Shortly after the drawing, she said, the man checked the numbers, but must have misread them and threw the tickets in the trash.

The 25 tickets were worth $50,000 each — $1.25 million total.

"He was mad," Hinton said of the day he found out that he threw away more than a million dollars. "He was so mad he played $400 that day."

It had been a mystery what happened to the tickets. The Pennsylvania Lottery put out a news release back in February, warning whoever held the tickets that they had until March 13 to cash them in, figuring that the person may have tucked them away in a kitchen junk drawer or had them in a wallet or pocketbook and hadn't bothered to check them.

The truth was slightly different.

"Oh, no," lottery spokeswoman Lauren Bottaro said. "Wow."

Bottaro said the lottery hates for tickets to go unclaimed and said this instance emphasizes the importance of players checking their tickets.

The $1.25 million jackpot will now remain in the state Lottery Fund.

Lottery players are usually pretty diligent about checking their tickets. Bottaro said Unclaimed tickets are very rare, composing maybe 1 percent of the number of tickets sold in the state.

"We do what we can" to notify winners, Bottaro said. "But sometimes, it's just not enough."

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