North Sound News

Couple steals $22,050 in lottery tickets

An Everett couple is accused of stealing $22,050 worth of lottery tickets and cashing them in for big payouts.

“That’s a lot of scratch tickets. I don’t know how you’d get away with that,” said lottery player Crystal Hughes.

Everett police said the suspects kept the game going for months last summer, until people started catching on.

Vivian Sarber is accused of stealing thousands of dollars' worth of scratch off tickets from 76 Gas Station on the 3100 block of Broadway in Everett, which is where she worked between February and September 2018. In October 2018, she posed as a Washington Lottery employee with the intent to commit further theft.

"At a small retail store they generally have one or two people who are in charge of lottery tickets and they're given a fair amount of authority of activating the tickets, selling the tickets,” said Kristi Weeks, Washington Lottery director of legal services.

Weeks said the Washington Lottery gets about 200 theft reports every year. Most crimes are smash and grabs. Inside jobs are typically rare.

"We want our players to trust us, to know that they have a real chance of winning games and, so, when our integrity is questioned in a way, like this, we take it very seriously,” said Weeks.

Police used serial numbers to track the tickets and caught the suspects on camera cashing in.

Snohomish County authorities arrested Sarber for theft and criminal impersonation. Tanaya Hooten was arrested for theft.

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