Crime

Man goes to same Cost Less twice to cash in stolen Scratchers. His luck ran out.

A Modesto man pushed his luck too far when he went to the same Cost Less Foods two days in a row to cash in hundreds of dollars worth of stolen lottery Scratchers, police said.

Just before 7 a.m. Thursday, Ceres police responded to a call of two men burglarizing Richland Liquors at 805 Richland Ave., according to Sgt. Greg Yotsuya.

The suspects were gone when officers arrived. The back door had been pried open, and the area around the cash register had been ransacked. The suspects were seen on surveillance video stealing cash and lottery Scratchers, Yotsuya said.

One of the officers at the scene, Brian Petersen, had responded to Cost Less at 1610 E. Hatch Road the day before, where a man had cashed in several winning lottery tickets totaling over $700.

He told an employee he’d spent $1,000 on them, but the store was later contacted by lottery security and told that the tickets had been stolen during a burglary of a business in Modesto.

Petersen contacted Cost Less and other area businesses to put them on alert for someone trying to cash in a large number of lottery tickets, Yotsuya said.

At about 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, the manager of Cost Less called 911 to report the suspect was back in the store with a large number of lottery tickets.

When officers arrived, the suspect was still in line holding 59 winning Scratchers totaling $1,190, Yotsuya said.

Clothing he was wearing and other items located in his possession matched one of the two suspects captured on the surveillance video from the Richland Liquors burglary earlier in the day.

Kevin Garcia, 30, of Modesto was arrested on suspicion of burglary, receiving stolen property and a probation violation.

The second suspect has not been identified.

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