stafford scratcher thief

A burglar got away with at least $120,000 worth of lottery tickets and about 170 cartons of cigarettes during an early Saturday morning theft from a store in North Stafford, police said.

The heist took place about 4:35 a.m. at the Fas Mart at 624 Garrisonville Road, Sheriff's spokeswoman Amanda Vicinanzo said. Deputy Samantha Whitt responded to an alarm and found a shattered window on the building.

Deputies also found an open door. Deputies and a police dog searched the building and the surrounding area, but no suspect was found.

Vicinanzo said the store owner later reported that nearly 12,000 scratch-off lottery tickets worth between $10 and $30 each were taken, causing an estimated loss of between $120,000 and more than $300,000. However, any winning tickets might not be worth much since officials have the ability to trace and cancel stolen tickets.

The cigarettes stolen were mostly the Newport brand, police said. There have been multiple cases over the years of cigarettes being stolen in Virginia and transported to states such as New York, where they can be sold for far more than their value in Virginia.

A surveillance picture captured at the store shows what appears to be a young man wearing saggy jeans with his face mostly covered. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 540/658-4400.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

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