Authorities have charged convenience store owner Sureshbha Ishvarbhai Patel after investigators say he kept Kecia Nehring Parker's winning lottery ticket.
DUNN - Kecia Nehring Parker's favorite lottery numbers turned out to be lucky in more than one way.
Not only did they win her a prize of nearly $90,000, but her clockwork regularity in playing them enabled North Carolina State Education Lottery investigators to track her down after they took the winning ticket from a convenience store owner accused of trying to steal her jackpot.
"I was very surprised," she told The Associated Press on Friday. "But it's definitely a good surprise."
The owner of the convenience store has been charged with stealing the lottery ticket, according to the Dunn Police Department.
Investigators say Sureshbha Ishvarbhai Patel, 53, the owner of Pop Mart at 415 Spring Branch Road, pocketed the ticket after telling Parker that her Carolina Cash 5 ticket was not a winner. He then tried to cash the $89,719 in winnings from the ticket at the N.C. Education Lottery office in Raleigh.