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      Jefferson City store clerk busted for stealing lottery winnings

      An apparent attempt to steal Missouri Lottery winnings from unsuspecting ticket holders has put a spotlight on consumer awareness.

      Investigators say a clerk at a West Dunklin convenience store perpetrated the fraud. They say 30-year-old Nathan Bracy told a customer his ticket was worthless, and then had a friend try to cash it in for hundreds of dollars in winnings.

      What Bracy did not know was that the customer worked for the lottery and the ticket check was a sting.

      "We don??t do a lot of these," said Gary Gonder of the Missouri Lottery. "But when we do, we??ll send in security personnel with a ticket that has a prize over 600 dollars."

      Tickets that valuable can only be redeemed directly from the lottery. But lottery ticket holders can have their tickets checked for winning status by any lottery retailer.

      Gonder says the checking devices all have computer screens which can be read by the customer. He also reminds lottery players that the tickets are their property.

      So ask for it back, even when you??re told it has no value. You can always have it re-checked somewhere else, or dispose of it yourself.

      Bracy is due in court Aug. 16 and faces a felony theft charge.