UKRAINIAN VILLAGE — A thief threw a rock into the window of a grocer and deli on the border of Humboldt Park and Ukrainian Village and made off with more than $5,000 worth of scratch-off lottery tickets early Monday, store owners said.
The owner of the family-run store, which has been in business for nine years, said the thief also made off with a cash register that contained an undisclosed amount of money.
"Life goes on, nobody got hurt. Everyone's OK. This is the heart of business, stuff happens. What can you do?" said the owner, who identified himself only as Nick P.
A Chicago Police Department detective was gathering evidence at the scene of the crime at 9 a.m. Monday, as well as brushing the remaining tickets for fingerprints. A police spokesman said they were notified of the robbery about 6 a.m., but had no further information.
The store owner said that due to the area being a crime scene, no scratch-off Lotto tickets will be sold at Family Produce for the remainder of the day.
For Humberto Higuarda, 67, the theft meant that he could not purchase his daily $1000 a Week for Life instant game ticket from Farmers Pride Produce when he arrived Monday to test his luck about 8:50 a.m.
"People are crazy. Why would they do that? They must need some money for drugs or something," said Higuarda.
Mike Lang, a spokesman for the Illinois Lottery, said that scratch-off instant tickets are rarely stolen, in large part because as soon as tickets are reported stolen, the Lottery commission "shuts them off" and the the ticket comes up as invalid when it gets redeemed.
Lang confirmed that 12 books of scratch-offs, representing a variety of instant games, such as "Crossword Puzzles'' and "Holiday Cash,'' were reported stolen by the store to the lottery commission Monday morning.
According to Lang, seven of the books of tickets were worth $300 each, and five books were worth $600 each, adding up to $5,100.
"If anyone tries to cash them in, they definitely won't win anything. It comes up on the screen and says they can't get a winner [on this ticket]," Lang said.