A Union County convenience store cashier reportedly stole almost $10,000 in lottery tickets from the store where he was employed as a cashier.

Austin Smith, 23, of Middleburg, allegedly played $9,910 worth of Pennsylvania Fast Play lottery tickets without paying for them while working the front cash register at Harvey’s Food Mart in Lewis Township, NorthcentralPA.com reported.

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, the shift manager of Harvey's Food Mart alerted the police officers of theft at their store located at 14544 SR-45 in Lewis Township. The manager told the state police that $674.74 was short from the store's cash register and coin dispenser after Smith's work shift on Oct. 2. Overall, Smith was accused of stealing a total amount of $10,584.74 from his employer.

When the officers checked the store's CCTV surveillance footage, they found video evidence that shows Smith playing the lottery kiosk and not paying for the tickets dispensed during his work shift.

Meanwhile, a handwritten letter from Smith was found at the store. In the letter, Smith admitted to having gambled with the tickets and admitted to taking about $1,000 worth of lottery winnings as well.

Smith, who reportedly has a criminal history of prior theft charges, has been arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge Lori R. Hackenberg. His bail has been set at $15,000.

Smith is reportedly facing felony charges of theft by deception/false impression and retail theft, as well as a misdemeanor charge of theft by unlawful taking and is currently being held at the Union County Prison.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 19, in front of Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey L. Mensch.

In a similar but unrelated incident, a Midland man named Kori McKee, 36, has been charged with felony fraud for claiming a lottery prize through deceit, YourBasin reported.

On Sept. 15, at around 1:52 a.m, Midland police were reportedly called to the DK convenience store located at 1112 South Midland Drive. When the cops reached the store, they found that the store's front door was smashed and that there was blood on the front door, around the cash register, and on some lottery tickets.

In addition to these damages, forty scratch-off tickets, 19 twenty-dollar and 21 fifty-dollar tickets, were missing from the store.

When the detectives reviewed CCTV footage from the establishment, they found surveillance videos of a suspect in a red ski mask using a crowbar to break the front glass door, hopping over the counter, and taking off with two trays of lottery tickets.

A couple of hours after the incident, a man cashed in two tickets for $20 and $50 at Murphy’s Gas, located at 2305 Belmont by Wal-Mart and I-20. Detectives reviewed CCTV footage from the store and identified the suspect as McKee.

McKee was arrested on Oct. 1 and his bond was set at $1,500.

A Union County convenience store cashier reportedly stole almost $10,000 in lottery tickets from the store where he worked. This is a representational image. Pixabay

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