Trio arrested in lottery ticket theft scheme that spans three localities

Trio arrested in lottery ticket theft scheme that spans three localities
[Left to right] Kelsey Sanchez, Nathan Elder, Samuel Harrison

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Officers in Chesterfield, Prince George and Hopewell came together to arrest three people for stealing lottery tickets. Investigators say the trio pulled off a crafty scheme to steal tickets at four separate stores.

It was supposed to be a quick grab, investigators say, where the suspects thought they would get in and out with those stolen lottery tickets - only to find out they'd never make it far.

"Not everyone has good intentions at all," said Officer Alexis Grochmal of Prince George Police.

That's what employees at the Mapco Convenience Store on Highway 460 in Prince George found out very quickly Monday. Someone came to ask for lottery tickets, but investigators say they had no intention of paying for them.

"They'd ask for lottery tickets. They'd be placed on the counter. Then they'd actually get cigarette requests. Then they'd turn their back and they'd take out of the store," Grochmal said.

It wasn't just here. Two different stores in Prince George were hit and another in Hopewell. Investigators say the suspects tried to cash in their stolen winnings at another store in Chesterfield. By that time, their images had been caught on surveillance. Police are now identifying the alleged crooks as Kelsey Sanchez, Nathan Elder and Samuel Harrison.

"We were able to take warrants out on the individuals, and then Chesterfield was able to locate the individuals and make an arrest," Grochmal said.

Someone close to the case says when an investigator spotted the image of one of the suspects, he knew exactly who it was. Now businesses are encouraged to remain alert.

"As with anything, with any business, just be vigilant," Grochmal said.

Police are telling would-be lottery crooks to think again.

"No matter what location or jurisdiction you're in, we're going to find you, and were going to prosecute you," she said.

It only took a day to nab the suspects. Multiple agencies worked together to crack the case.

Copyright 2018 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.