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Eagle Liquor store employee accused of lying about lottery ticket, keeping it

A Boone County man was charged with stealing after a Missouri Lottery security investigator conducted a compliance investigation at Eagle Liquor Store.

According to the probable cause statement, the investigation was conducted to see if the retailer followed proper Missouri Lottery ticket handling procedures.

The investigator said two tickets were used in the investigation, including a $5,000 prize winner and a nonwinner.

The investigator said he walked undercover into the store and handed the two tickets to Whitaker and asked for him to check them. Whitaker scanned the tickets and looked at the lottery terminal screen and said neither tickets were winners, the investigator said.

Whitaker did not give the tickets back, the investigator said.

Days later, a woman brought the same winning ticket to the Missouri Lottery Headquarters accompanied with a Scratchers cash authorization receipt. According to the probable cause statement, the woman was not paid the prize and was advised there was a problem with the ticket and someone from the Missouri Lottery would be in touch with her.

The investigator said he contacted the woman, and she admitted she got the ticket from Whitaker.

The investigator said he contacted Whitaker, who said he buys lots of lottery tickets and did not know where he got the winning ticket.

After the investigation was revealed, Whitaker changed his story and said he had made a mistake and did not realize the ticket was a winner when he first scanned it, the investigator said. Whitaker told the investigator that he had scanned it a second time after he had left and that is when he realized it was a winner, the investigator said. Whitaker admitted he did not attempt to correct his mistake and gave the woman the winning ticket to get the money because he owed a little bit of taxes, the investigator said.

Wendy Baker with the Missouri Lottery told ABC 17 News that they encourage anyone who suspects lottery ticket theft to contact their office.

“We have a Security section that investigates whenever there are concerns about activity at retail locations, and our retailers are also well versed in what to do when reporting stolen tickets,” Baker said in an email on Tuesday.

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