Lottery Winner's Tickets Bought With Stolen Money, Police Say

Police said the suspects stole $175,000 from their jobs and used some of it to buy lottery tickets.

Last year, Joan Lechleitner bought a winning ticket in a Pennsylvania lottery worth more than $1 million.

Now, she's being accused of purchasing that ticket with money stolen from the grocery store where she worked as a bookkeeper.

The 51-year-old Lechleitner was arrested on Tuesday on four counts of conspiracy and one each of theft, theft by deception, receiving stolen property and tampering with records, according to the Pottsville Republican Herald.

Lechleitner's arrest was a family affair. Her fiance, 54-year-old Kerry Titus, was indicted on the same charges, as were her daughter, Samantha M. Schaeffer, 25, and her nephew, Tyler Schappel, 21.

The quartet all worked at an Agway store in Cressona. Authorities accuse them of ringing up fake purchases and returns since 2011 to the tune of $175,000.

Titus was the store manager and Schaeffer and Schappel made the returns, according to the Pottsville Republican Herald.

Surveillance footage captured by the store's owner allegedly shows Lechleitner and crew ringing up returns with no customers around, pocketing the money, and using that money to buy lottery tickets at the store, according to WNEP-TV.

Last September, one of those tickets allegedly purchased with stolen money netted Lechleitner $261,905.50, according to the Morning Call newspaper.

The store's owner, Ronald Yordy, told police he had to borrow money three times to keep the store afloat because of the thefts.

All four defendants admitted ringing in fraudulent sales returns and taking money, according to Affidavits of Probable Cause filed by state police.

The defendants turned themselves in on Tuesday and were arraigned at a courthouse in Orwigsburg.

After each paying $25,000 in unsecured bail, the defendants drove away in a pickup truck allegedly purchased with the lottery winnings.


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