Area police are on the lookout for a man stealing scratcher lottery tickets from retailers on both sides of the state line.
Merriam Police Detective Nick Weiler said the man has hit stores at least 40 times in the last three weeks. In one case he almost ran over a store employee who tried to get his license plate number as he drove away.
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“He’ll ask for some scratcher tickets and he usually has some other items on the counter for purchase as well,” Weiler said. “The clerk gets distracted and the man pockets the tickets. He’ll start digging in his pockets and say he has to go out to his vehicle to get money. The clerk doesn’t realize the tickets are missing until he drives away.”
Weiler said he was not aware of a previous rash of this type of crime.
Cara Sloan-Ramos, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Lottery, said alerts about the thefts have been sent to retailers selling lottery tickets. Each scratcher ticket has a serial number.
The man is described as white and in his 30s. He is 5 feet 9 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall with an average build, short hair and a goatee, according to descriptions. He was driving a white van with no side windows and damage to the right rear side. Merriam police released a photo of the suspect vehicle.
Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477) or the Merriam Police Department at 913-322-5560.