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Lottery ticket worth $550K sold in Shabbona still unredeemed

Published: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 10:25 p.m. CDT

SHABBONA – Four months have passed since a $550,000 lottery ticket was sold at a Shabbona gas station. No one has claimed the prize.

A winning Lucky Day Lotto ticket was sold Oct. 22 at Express Lane, a BP station at 515 E. Comanche Ave. The winning numbers were 6-10-16-19-28, according to lottery officials, who added it was a quick pick ticket.

By Illinois Lottery rules, winners have one year from the date of the original drawing to claim the prize.

If the winner redeems the ticket, he or she would receive a lump sum of $385,000.

“I would have expected someone to claim it by now,” Illinois Lottery Spokesman Mike Lang said, adding prizes are usually claimed in a couple weeks. “This is a substantial prize and most of the time when you get to that amount people claim them.”

Every year $28 million in winning lottery tickets are not claimed, with most of that amount composed of tickets for $1, $2 or $5, Lang said. After the year redemption period expires, the money goes into the state’s Common School Fund to support Illinois public schools or into the Capital Project Fund, which supports construction projects across the state.

Bridget Staten, the manager of Express Lane, almost couldn’t believe it when she saw her station had sold a $550,000 ticket. Although lottery tickets are part of about 25 percent of the station’s sales, a six-figure win is an anomaly.

“I’d say we sell around 100 tickets a week,” Staten said. “We’ve sold a $10,000 instant ticket, but never anything this big.”

To try to pin down the winner, Staten reviewed the store’s security tape from the time the ticket was sold. She said the customers at the time appeared to be a Hispanic couple and a tall white man, but it was difficult to tell.

The store that sells a ticket gets a 1 percent commission regardless of whether the prize being claimed, meaning Express Lane received $5,500.

There are $9.35 million in large unclaimed lottery tickets currently floating around the state. The only greater Lucky Day Lotto ticket that remains to be claimed is one for $750,000 sold Jan. 28 in McHenry.

Three $1 million tickets sold in April, October and Jan. 28 of this year in Lombard, Hodgkins and Lake Forest have yet to be claimed.

Lang recalled a time a man who had won $9 million discovered the winning ticket in a folder as he was preparing his taxes.

The ticket can be redeemed for one year after the drawing date at one of five prize centers in Rockford, Springfield, Chicago, Fairview Heights and Des Plaines.

Mike Lang, Illinois Lottery spokesman, said a ticket of this size would need to be verified in Springfield, which would take four to six weeks.

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