A 23-year-old Ocala man was arrested after he was accused of stealing over $3,000 worth of scratch-off lottery tickets from a local convenience store.
On Wednesday, shortly before 7:15 p.m., a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to the Circle K located at 1940 SE 58th Avenue in Ocala in reference to an alleged theft. Upon arrival, the deputy made contact with a store manager who advised that a discrepancy was noticed with the store’s lottery tickets.
The manager stated that the store’s camera footage was reviewed to determine the cause of the discrepancy. On June 27, at approximately 12:10 p.m., Julio Angel Portalatin Estrada was seen on the footage wiping a counter with a towel, and the counter was located in close proximity to the lottery tickets. According to the manager, Portalatin Estrada was then observed placing a scratch-off ticket in the towel.
After the scratch-off ticket was allegedly placed in the towel, the manager stated that Portalatin Estrada walked out of view of the camera. According to the manager, this occurred a total of 26 times between the dates of June 27, 2022, and August 28, 2022.
The MCSO report indicated that each of the missing scratch-off lottery tickets ranged in value from $20 to $50, totaling $3,370.
The deputy reviewed video footage from 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, August 28. On the footage, the deputy observed Portalatin Estrada wiping the counter with a black hand towel. The deputy noted in the report that Portalatin Estrada then placed his back toward the camera, bent down where the lottery tickets were kept, and took a scratch-off ticket.
The deputy then watched as Portalatin Estrada placed the scratch-off ticket into the hand towel before turning away from the camera.
Portalatin Estrada agreed to speak with the deputy after being read his Miranda rights. When questioned about the scratch-off lottery tickets, Portalatin Estrada attempted to describe the “different way” that he scans the tickets.
The deputy then asked about the hand towel, and Portalatin Estrada admitted to the deputy that he “may have stolen” a scratch-off lottery ticket.
Portalatin Estrada was arrested, transported to Marion County Jail, and he was later released on $7,000 bond. He is facing felony charges for grand theft (over $750 but less than $5,000) and fraud (obtaining property under $20,000).
A court date has not been scheduled yet, according to jail records.