Store clerk arrested for giving customer $5 instead of $600 for winning lottery ticket

Authorities in Southwest Florida arrested a supermarket clerk for trying to steal a winning Florida Lottery ticket from a “customer.”

Police said a man gave a ticket to 42-year-old Crystelle Baton to scan. When Baton scanned the ticket at a Winn-Dixie Liquors store in Fort Myers, officials said she learned the ticket was worth $600.

Investigators said Baton did not give the man the correct winnings, but instead pulled $5 from her purse and told him that was what the ticket had won.

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But according to the Florida Lottery Commission, Baton wasn’t scamming a regular customer.

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She was attempting to take money from an undercover agent from its security division conducting a random visit.

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The Florida Lottery regularly conducts undercover visits to make sure retailers are following the law.

Police arrested Baton on charges of grand theft. Officers later found the winning ticket in her notebook.

Winn-Dixie released a statement regarding Baton’s arrest: “We are taking this matter very seriously as the trust and safety of our customers is our highest priority. The associate’s employment has been terminated.”

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So, how can you make sure this doesn’t happen to you? Because let’s be honest, there won’t always be law enforcement officials around to help you out.

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On its website, the Florida Lottery warns customers to sign the back of their tickets as soon as you purchase them to prevent someone else from claiming your prize.

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Sign your ticket ASAP to prevent someone else from capitalizing on your winnings!

“You should always sign the back of your Lottery ticket as soon as you purchase it,” according to Florida Lottery. “This will help prevent someone else from claiming a prize on your Florida Lottery ticket if it is lost or stolen, or if someone tries to scratch out, white out or change your signature.”

You can also claim your winnings at a more official lottery setting, such as your state lottery’s district offices or at your state’s lottery headquarters building.

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Written by Sean O’Reilly for KGUN.

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