Two $800,000 Lottery Tickets Go Unclaimed
JACKI LYDEN, host:
Last fall, in mid-October, persons unknown bought two lottery tickets; one in Littleton in Colorado, the other at a gas station in Hebron, Kentucky. Those tickets matched five numbers in the Powerball drawing that day. And they're now worth $853,000 apiece. At least for the moment.
Their magic, like Cinderella's, comes with an expiration date. If no one steps forward by five o'clock tomorrow afternoon, the tickets become worthless scraps of paper.
In and around Hebron, a small town just south of Cincinnati, people are rummaging through their desk drawers and pants pockets one last time, and speculating about what might have happened to those tickets.
Katie Orr, of member station WVXU, has more.
KATIE ORR reporting:
Sally Schaffer(ph) knows she doesn't have it. It's probably floating around someone's house, but not hers.
Ms. SALLY SCHSFFER (Kentucky Resident): I think it probably got misplaced, if I know our family. Just put somewhere and now they can't find it or don't know where it is to look for it.
ORR: She and her husband Andy are having breakfast at the waffle house just up the road from the BP Station where the ticket was sold.
Andy Schaffer, a retired dentist, says he was pretty certain he hadn't won. But he went back to check his ticket again, just to be sure.
Mr. ANDY SCHAFFER (Kentucky Resident): I checked mine two or three times. Even though I knew it was not there, I looked at it again. And I hope whoever has that ticket never finds out that they won and now have lost.
ORR: A few tables away, Rick Kremlin(ph) agrees.
Mr. RICK KREMLIN (Kentucky Resident): I'd be kicking myself if I knew it was mine and I'd done something with it where I didn't get to claim it.
ORR: He's an off-duty police officer who stopped in to get some eggs and hash browns.
Mr. KREMLIN: I work second shift and I never think to go pick up a ticket. So I know it wasn't mine. Matter of fact, that's where I get gas, the same place it's bought. And I saw the wanted posters up for it, and I think, man, how can you not know you have it?
ORR: The BP station sits right off I-275, and one of the most common theories around here is that someone passing through probably stopped in for gas and doesn't realize they have the winning ticket.
Vicky Hart(ph) is like a lot of people. She thinks it's probably just lost somewhere.
Ms. VICKY HART (Kentucky Resident): I'd be going through my whole house. It's lost in some women's purse and she forgot she bought it.
ORR: Hart knows she doesn't have it, because she doesn't play the lottery anymore. She says if she'd saved all the money she spent on tickets in the past, she'd be rich by now.
For NPR News, I'm Katie Orr.
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