4 arrested in Bay Area-wide stolen lottery scratchers burglary ring

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Police in Belmont say they have captured a group of thieves responsible for stealing lottery tickets.

The suspects are believed to have taken hundreds of scratch-off lottery tickets from more than a dozen stores between San Francisco and San Jose.

They would then turn in winning tickets and walk away with cash.

Police say they first received a report of thieves taking tickets back in June. Now, four San Jose residents are in custody and more arrests could be coming.

The Belmont Police Department says that four people have been arrested for allegedly stealing lottery tickets from multiple convenience stores and liquor stores along the Peninsula.

Twenty-two-year-old Shawn Ray, 21-year-old Michael Walker, 22-year-old Alexander Castillo and 21-year-old Jose Sotomayer are believed to have committed more than a dozen burglaries at stores between San Francisco and San Jose.  

Three burglaries occurred in Belmont. An ampm station along Ralston was robbed twice. The owner tells KRON4 in the middle of the night the thieves smashed the front door of the store and grabbed lottery tickets and cigarettes from behind the counter.

Capt. Patrick Halleran with the Belmont Police Department says that after the suspects took tickets, they would start playing them.

“Scratching off the numbers and set the winners aside, and then they would go to gas stations or convenience stores in San Francisco or San Jose and redeem the tickets for money,” Capt. Halleran said.

Investigators believe the thieves probably made thousands of dollars turning in winning tickets, but they are now facing criminal charges for burglary, conspiracy, and possession of stolen property.

Police also say they are looking for additional suspects.

“We have additional leads we are following up on. This is an ongoing investigation,” Capt. Halleran said.

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