Stolen lottery ticket the key in cracking five cases - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Stolen lottery ticket the key in cracking five cases

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Timothy Copeland Timothy Copeland

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Most people know when you buy a lottery ticket, there's a chance good things could happen.

And what happened at a liquor store in downtown Winnsboro thanks to a scratch-off ticket made Winnsboro Public Safety Chief Fred Lorrick's day.

"That was the key to breaking the case, so it worked out," said Lorrick.

The case was actually five different crimes. One man was caught on tape and officers say he burglarized local stores four different times over the weekend.

"In a small town, a lot of times we're able to show video around and get someone to make identification, but it would have been a lot harder without the lottery ticket," said Lorrick.

Lorrick says when the suspect was breaking in, he'd been taking lotto tickets. He tried to cash one in at a Citgo and a clerk called police realizing it was stolen, but he got away.

After the suspect left Citgo, his buddy turned up down the road and tried to cash in one of the tickets for himself. That's when the clerk got a notification from a machine that the lottery ticket had been stolen.

Turns out when someone tries to cash in a stolen ticket, the state Lottery Commission is notified and so are the police.

"After 2 minutes, police were here and that's it," said Lorrick.

Mike Patel says he was the one who tried to scan the ticket. The machine spit out a number for him to call and report the ticket.

The friend with the ticket said Timothy Copeland gave it to him. Copeland is the one, police say, burglarized the stores.

"We would have probably eventually broke the case with that information we had, but the lottery ticket did it for us," said Lorrick.

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