Public Safety

Tiffin man accused of stealing multiple lottery tickets from area convenience stores through distraction scheme

A Tiffin man and a co-defendant are accused of committing multiple lottery ticket thefts from different convenient stores.

According to an Iowa City Police Department complaint Eric Burgess, 52 and a co-defendant Jacquelyn Somers allegedly visited multiple Kum & Go convenience stores as well as a Deli-Mart and executed a plan to distract the store operator, allowing them to steal lottery tickets.

The alleged crimes occurred during the evening of September 27 and morning hours of September 28.

Detailed in a criminal complaint, Somers distracted the clerk by dropping merchandise, including a drink, on the floor of the store. This would cause the clerk to leave the checkout to investigate.

During this time, Burgess would reach behind the counter and steal scratch-off tickets from the dispenser. Then the pair would leave the store.

They allegedly repeated this process at multiple stores.

During one of the thefts from an Iowa City Kum & Go they stole three $10 tickets that ended up being winners.

They then drove to a Kum & Go in Coralville to redeem the stolen tickets, where they also attempted another theft.

According to the release, the pair were driving in a stolen vehicle during these theft attempts.

Ultimately, the stolen tickets have been tracked by the Iowa Lottery Authority, and the theft attempts have been recorded on video at both Kum & Go locations.

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Burgess faces multiple charges from the thefts, including: three counts of Felony D Lottery Forgery and 2nd degree theft.

A Class D felony is punishable up to five years in prison.

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