A man is accused of illegally redeeming 98 packs of scratch tickets he allegedly stole. (Washington’s Lottery)

A man is accused of illegally redeeming 98 packs of scratch tickets he allegedly stole. (Washington’s Lottery)

‘Good employee’ allegedly stole $50K from Cathcart gas station

Prosecutors say the former manager fraudulently took scratch lottery tickets from his store.

CATHCART — The gas station manager allegedly took scratch tickets from games like “30X Cash,” “Black Ice” and “Ultimate Riches.”

While maybe not ultimate, he did temporarily gain some riches with an alleged scheme at the 76 gas station in Cathcart — more than $50,000, according to prosecutors — but now he will be facing a judge.

The Mount Vernon man, 37, was charged on Sept. 4 with first-degree theft in Snohomish County Superior Court. He no longer works at the store at 16510 Highway 9.

The owner said he bought the shop in 2013 and decided to keep the suspect on as an employee. The previous owner had vouched for the man, saying he had good overall knowledge of the store’s daily operations.

Talking to a Washington State Lottery investigator last year, the store’s owner said he knew the location had been losing money for a couple of years, but he had no idea why. An investigator found the retailer lost more than $68,000 as a result of the alleged theft.

The suspect was the only one who could activate the scratch tickets at the station, according to the owner. All of the suspicious transactions reportedly were made during the manager’s shift. And the tickets were redeemed either soon after he got off work, or on his days off, at Safeway stores in Snohomish and Skagit counties.

In total, the suspect allegedly redeemed 98 packs of scratch tickets dating back to 2017. Video surveillance from Safeway stores shows a man who looks like the employee redeeming the tickets, according to charging papers.

The former employee is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 23.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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