Thieves steal $250,000 in lottery ticket Scratchers from 44 stores, authorities say

Video screenshot from LAPDHQ Instagram account of suspects taking lottery scratchers at a 7-11.
A video screenshot shows suspects taking lottery Scratchers at a convenience store (Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department)

Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives investigating a series of strong-arm robberies during which thousands of California Lottery Scratchers games were stolen from convenience stores caught a break last week.

On April 11, detectives spotted a vehicle linked to 44 robberies over a nine-week stretch parked outside a 7-Eleven in Arlington Heights, a sheriff’s spokesperson said Thursday.

There, detectives watched a four-person crew suspected in the thefts pilfer more Scratchers. This time, however, the group's luck ran out, the Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday when it announced the arrests of the four.

The Sheriff’s Department said three adults and one juvenile were booked on suspicion of robbery. The adults were arraigned Monday, and each are being held in lieu of $100,000 bail. The minor was transported to Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall, where he was being held. No date was released for the juvenile's arraignment.

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The Sheriff’s Department did not release the names of the three adults for fear of jeopardizing an ongoing investigation, a department spokesperson said. The department does not release the names of juvenile suspects.

The total loss from the robberies was more than $250,000, with $90,000 of that total coming through cashed stolen Scratchers.

Representatives from 7-Eleven did not respond to an email regarding store safety.

The Sheriff's Department released a video of the incident.

A suspect appears to jump over the counter and begin to reach for the drawers containing California Lotto tickets.

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A nearby attendant, who was sitting on a packing crate in front of the cash register, jumps off and backpedals toward the corner of the store, where there appear to be two other employees.

The first assailant pulls out the drawers and tosses them to another person on the other side of the counter.

The duo take five boxes full of Scratchers while leaving behind a portion of a sixth one. The Sheriff's Department said more than $3,000 worth of tickets was taken.

In total, the foursome is suspected of hitting 42 7-Eleven locations and two Circle Ks across Los Angeles County, with the majority of activity taking place inside the city of Los Angeles, according to the sheriff's spokesperson.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.