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Robber caught trying to cash in lottery tickets

Suspect asked grandfather to redeem scratch-offs
Posted at 6:16 PM, Jan 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-03 18:16:59-05

EDGEWOOD, Md — Desperate for money to pay his car insurance and to buy gifts, the robber entered the 7-

Eleven on Edgewood Road two days before Christmas dressed like... a robber.

"Blue jeans and like a dark blue jacket and a hoodie," said Store Manager Mike Patel.
"So he had his face covered?"
"Yes."

Patel says the robber approached the counter, implied he had a handgun and demanded cash from a female clerk, but what he wanted the most turned out to be lottery scratch off tickets.

"Around 179 or 180... something like that," said Patel.

$3,300 worth of lottery tickets in all, and every single ticket coded and reported stolen making them virtually worthless, but Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler says the suspected robber, later identified as 22-year-old Jason Sieracki had no idea.

"We caught a break when another subject, not at all matching the suspect's description, a much older gentleman turned up trying to redeem those at a Royal Farms store also here in Harford County," said Gahler.

A clerk refused to cash the tickets, and investigators later discovered Sieracki had asked his grandfather to try to redeem the tickets for him.

Just four days after the armed robbery and a matter of hours after prompting his elderly relative to cash in a few hundred dollars’ worth of winnings, deputies arrested Sieracki.

"Police work comes down to sometimes to the criminal not knowing as much as they think that they do, if that's a nice way to say it,” said Gahler, “Good police work always helps us out a lot, but in this case, I don't think we're dealing with the brightest bulb on the tree to use a Christmas phrase."

As it turns out, the suspect robber also used a fake handgun, a BB gun pistol, in the commission of the crime, but as far as the law is concerned, it might as well have been the real thing and he now faces a series of criminal charges including armed robbery and felony theft.