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Police: $10,000 lottery thief's attempt to cash in $1,000 winner leads to arrest

By
Ben Hooper

OCALA, Fla., Aug. 29 (UPI) -- A Florida man accused of stealing more than $10,000 worth of lottery tickets was arrested after posing for a photo at a store where he tried to cash a winner.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office said its Property Crimes detectives arrested Christopher Sikes, 24, last week after he allegedly used a hatchet to shatter a window at a convenience store in Ocala Aug. 16 and stole an entire case of Florida Lottery scratch-off tickets, worth a total of more than $10,000.

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Surveillance video from the store indicated the thief was a white male, but his face was obscured by a mask.

The sheriff's office said Sikes tried one of the tickets, a $1,000 winner, at a convenience store in Leesburg, but the ticket came up as declined and possibly stolen. The clerk convinced Sikes to pose for a photo by threatening to call the police.

The photo was posted to Facebook by the Marion County Sheriff's Office, leading to the suspect's identification by members of the public.

Sikes was booked into the Marion County Jail on charges of burglary, grand theft and dealing in stolen property.

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