A lucky lottery ticket turned out to be not so lucky for a Florida store clerk, who's accused of stealing it from a "customer." The reason "customer" is in quotes is because, per the Miami Herald, he was actually an undercover agent for the Florida Lottery on a routine visit to a Winn-Dixie Liquor store in Fort Myers. The agent says he went up to the counter with a winning ticket worth $600, but when he handed it to 42-year-old Crystelle Yvette Baton to cash it in, she gave him a lot less—just $5, taken right out of her own pocketbook—after scanning it in and realizing its worth. Baton was arrested when the agent returned a short time later and charged with larceny grand theft; the winning ticket was found stashed between the pages in her notebook.
WBBH describes the visits as random and part of the Lottery Commission's "integrity investigation." The Herald points to one tip offered by a reader on the WBBH site: "I put my name on the back [of the ticket] always, and always notice when the cashier checks the back before she determines whether it won something or not." The Herald notes customers who want to be extra-cautious can use electronic scanners that are usually found near lottery purchase points. Baton, whose trial is set for the end of February, posted a $5,000 bond earlier this week, though she won't be going back to work: "The associate's employment has been terminated," Winn-Dixie says in a statement, per the Herald. (Read more Florida stories.)