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Winning stolen lottery tickets are being cashed in at area Joplin stores

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Stolen lottery tickets are popping up at Joplin area convenience stores.

More than $1,500 worth of the tickets were stolen from the Kum & Go on 2202 South Range Line Road late last week and somebody has been cashing in the winners.

Chad Curry owns the Spirit 66 Food Mart on 7th Street in Joplin and word of stolen scratch off tickets popping up around town didn't come as a big surprise.

"I've tried to cash in previously cashed tickets, or lost or stolen tickets and immediately it pops up on the screen," says Curry.

But in the case of the five books stolen from the Kum & Go station, tickets were cashed before the gas station even reported they were missing.

"They had discovered the theft at the time when they were contacted by the Lottery Commission to report the fact that the tickets were being turned in," says Cpl. Chuck Niess of the Joplin Police Department.

According to the Missouri Lottery, if the tickets are cashed before they are reported stolen then the convenience store is liable for the money.  Which means, in this case, Kum & Go will be responsible for eating the costs of the stolen cashed in tickets.

That's why Curry says he keeps his store keeps the tickets locked up.

"Lottery suggests keeping them in a secure location, like a safe or a locked office somewhere where general public or employees don't have access to them," says Curry.

Police say that each of the convenience stores have their own surveillance cameras and that police will be checking that footage sometime this week.

"Sometimes even though you have video, you can look at the video, see the person clearly, and have no idea who that is," says Niess.

Every lottery ticket has a tracking number and that should make the stolen tickets easy to identify.

Kum & Go declined to comment on this story.

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