Smash-and-grab lottery ticket thefts are becoming a common occurrence in the Western suburbs, according to police.
Wood Dale police told NBC Chicago they’ve responded to three smash-and-grab lottery ticket thefts since Nov. 22, with up to 15 similar crimes reported in surrounding suburbs.
For many store owners, these lottery ticket thefts don’t make sense.
“I don’t know what the trend is because lottery tickets are no good once you report them,” said Nick Farhat, owner of Woodale’s WD Tobacco.
Farhat’s security cameras on Monday captured smash-and-grab thieves ransacking his tobacco store of $12,000 worth of lottery tickets.
At about 2:45 a.m. Wednesday, Krage’s Service Center in Addison was hit by a similar lottery raid.
In surveillance footage captured by the gas station’s owner Kevin Krage, you see a car pull up to the doorway of the service center so a passenger can look through the window.
Moments later, someone from the car throws a large rock breaking the gas station’s glass door. Seconds after the passenger runs in and grabs all of the lottery tickets on the store’s counter.
Krage said they got away with roughly $2,000 worth of tickets.
But lottery sales representative Michael Case said the thieves try to cash the tickets in before the owners get a chance to report them stolen.
“They are out there scratching and cashing,” Case said.
The thieves are on a time crunch, because once the tickets are reported stolen they are worthless.
“This was just too unusual to have four stores within in two weeks [with smash-and-grab lottery thefts],” Case said. “[The suspects] are just waiting, smashing windows and grabbing dispensers.”