Texas store employee accused of stealing, cashing in more than $21K of lottery tickets

SAN ANTONIO — A Texas convenience store employee is accused of stealing more than $31,000 worth of lottery tickets, which allowed her to cash in more than $21,000 worth of winning tickets, authorities said.

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Mayra Alejandra Rios, 37, of San Antonio, was arrested Wednesday and charged with lottery fraud, a second-degree felony; and lottery theft, a third-degree felony, said Jennifer Rodriguez, a public information officer with the San Antonio Police Department, according to KSAT-TV.

The owner of the store learned that he was missing bundles of Texas Lottery tickets, according to the television station. The bundles contained between 25 to 30 tickets apiece, and Rios would allegedly cash out the winning tickets.

The owner reviewed surveillance footage and said that Rios was allegedly activating the tickets between October and December 2022, Rodriguez said during a news conference.

The woman allegedly collected money from the winning tickets and cashed them in stores in San Antonio and Laredo, KSAT reported.

“So a total of more than $52,000 were taken between the stolen bundles of lottery tickets and the winnings,” Rodriguez told reporters.

Rios is facing up to 20 years in prison for the lottery fraud charge and up to 10 years in prison for the lottery theft charge, Rodriguez said.

“It is just not worth it, because eventually, it will catch up to you,” Rodriguez told reporters. “Every single lottery ticket has a number, and that number is tracked. And it’ll get back-tracked to you, so it’s just not worth doing this and committing this crime.”

Rios was booked into the Bexar County Jail on Wednesday, KSAT reported.