Thieves were able to cash in stolen scratch tickets despite security

A Tacoma thief made off with 400 lottery tickets on Wednesday.

TACOMA, Wash. -- The state lottery is investigating why a security procedure didn't prevent thieves from cashing in stolen scratch tickets in Bothell on May 3.

This comes on the heels of Wednesday's theft of scratch tickets in Tacoma where the security feature reportedly worked.

Both burglaries were caught on surveillance video. Tacoma police officer Shelbie Boyd described the most recent video. "You can see him peering in through the side window to see what's inside."

Video shows the suspect in his 20s smashing the front door's window and quickly making his way to the back of the store. "Leaps over the counter," Boyd said. "Grabs two containers full of lottery tickets and out the door he goes. Jumps into a car and takes off."

Tacoma police say 400 tickets worth $7,000 were taken. "It looked very obvious that the window they were looking in looks right where the tickets were kept and it was a beeline right to those and right back out." Boyd said.

The store owners and lottery have an answer for that. The tickets can be rendered useless. Darren Yann, Tacoma store owner's son, noted, "At first it sounds like a smart idea, what they don't know is that we can cancel them." A call can be made to the lottery with the serial numbers of the stolen tickets and they can be immediately invalidated.

But in a similar burglary of scratch tickets in Bothell last week the store owner said that didn't happen. Paul Chung said he tried to call and cancel the $3,000 worth of tickets at 5:30 p.m. but they weren't canceled until the next day. He said the thieves were able to redeem $750.

The security director of the state Lottery Dan DeVoe issued a statement in response to a question from KOMO News

"We are aware of this situation and are currently investigating the details of what transpired, working closely with our gaming vendor, IGT. We are in communication with the retailer and will continue to work with this business as we get more information."

As for the store owners, the state lottery says they are responsible for paying for the stolen tickets, but not the prize money. The lottery said store owners sign an agreement that the stolen tickets are just like stolen food or merchandise and need to handled by their insurance.

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