Feb 27, 2004, 4:26 am
Customers bringing jokes about the lottery could expect a tough crowd at the Red Apple Country Store.
Chances are, the employees have already heard it.
Somebody, somewhere, holds a special ticket that could bring an end to the wisecracks.
A week ago today, the Red Apple sold the second-most valuable individual lottery ticket in history.
The winner of the $239 Mega Millions Jackpot, drawn Saturday, still has yet to come forward, meaning the comical copycats still are prowling.
Were having a lot of them, night manager Tina Dyke said Thursday. People will come in all the time saying, I won the winning ticket.
Its been a lot of stuff. But its kind of neat to see this area get on the news. You dont think of things like that happening in a small little town.
Virginia Lottery spokesman Ed Scarborough said while people eagerly await the winner, its too early to start digging through trash cans.
It just depends on the individual, Scarborough said. Were always anxious on our end to award the money.
The winning ticket-holder has 180 days to claim the prize. And after claiming their prizes, winners have 60 days to decide how to accept the money, Scarborough said.
Scarborough said if the winner took the money in annual payments, the first annuity would be $9.2 million.
Getting some legal advice and some financial advice would be important for this person or persons, Scarborough said.
A winner has failed to come forward only five times since the Virginia Lottery adopted a Lotto game in 1990.
Scarborough said he doesnt expect that to happen this time.
It takes some planning, Scarborough said. I think for some people, its a bit overwhelming.
Thats becoming the feeling at the Red Apple, which has fielded dozens of interviews from news networks around the nation this week.
Several businesses have called jokingly looking for their piece of the proverbial pie, Dyke said, including one from Canada.
Im surprised with all the attention were getting, Dyke said. Maybe [the winners] waiting until the spotlight dies down a little bit.
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