The lottery terminal lit up like a pinball machine, and sounded a congratulations klaxon loud enough for the hearing impaired to hear.
Yet the customer who handed over the $10,000 winning ticket was told it was a loser.
Fortunately on this occasion that ‘customer’ was actually an undercover investigator from the Maryland Lottery Company. But he let her keep the ticket to see what would happen next.
Just a couple of hours later Melissa Stone of Ross Liquors, Dundalk, turned up at the Lottery Headquarters to try and cash in the ticket.
She had just been caught red handed trying to steal a customers winning ticket.
Investigators caught a dozen dishonest store owners in the sting operation, which is designed to send a reminder to all operators that checks are made and that honesty is a required quality of having a lottery ticket license.
The best advice is to always check your own tickets, or use a ticket scanner if there is one.
And if a retailer says your ticket is a loser, ask for the ticket back anyway. Especially if the lottery machine just played a fanfare and lit up the room.