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News Release

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Media Relations

Grand Theft Lottery Scam NR19113rc

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Police Department's Commercial Crimes Division, Burglary Special Section Detectives were investigating a series of Grand Thefts occurring in the Valley, Metropolitan Area and South Los Angeles. After a lengthy investigation, Nickey Yonko was identified as the suspect responsible for the Grand Thefts.

On August 18, 2017 to October 23, 2017, Yonko would enter several liquor stores and request to purchase California Lottery "Hot Spot" tickets. The store employee would print the tickets and place them on the counter. He then would distract the employee's attention from the printed Lottery "Hot Spot" tickets and retrieve expired tickets from his person and swap them out for the new valid tickets.

Yonko placed the new tickets in his pocket leaving the expired tickets on the counter. He told the employee he needed to retrieve additional money from his vehicle and would not return. The employee became suspicious when the suspect did not return and discovered the tickets were expired and not the ones he had printed.

The employees later reviewed surveillance video and discovered that Yonko had switched the freshly printed "Hot Spot" tickets with the older tickets. Yonko then walked out of the location with the stolen lottery tickets. The is responsible for numerous grand thefts in the City of Los Angeles. The suspect is also responsible for similar Grand Thefts in Long Beach, Monrovia and the City of La Verne.