Store owner kept $89,000 NC lottery ticket for himself, police say

DUNN, NC (WRAL/WBTV) - A store owner in eastern North Carolina allegedly kept a winning $89,000 ticket from a customer, police told WRAL Thursday.

Police told WRAL that Kecia Nehring Parker of Dunn bought a winning Carolina Cash 5 lottery ticket in Carolina Beach last August and went to a store in Dunn to cash it. The store's owner told Parker her ticket didn't win and the owner kept the ticket for himself, investigators told WRAL.

On Feb. 8, Sureshbha Ishvarbhai Patel, 53, went to the North Carolina Education Lottery office in Raleigh to claim the $89,719 in winnings from the ticket, police told WRAL.

Patel, the owner of Pop Mart on Spring Branch Road in Dunn, was charged Tuesday with felony larceny and obtaining property by false pretense, WRAL reported.

Lottery officials declined to tell the media what tipped them to the alleged crime.

Sales of lottery tickets at the Pop Mart have been suspended indefinitely, and investigators with the state lottery removed lottery machines from the store on Wednesday, WRAL reported.

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