A 36-year-old woman was arrested by Ocala police after she confessed to stealing over $3,000 worth of scratch-off lottery tickets from a local supermarket.
On August 18, an Ocala Police Department officer responded to Harveys Supermarket located at 3435 N Pine Avenue in reference to an employee theft incident. Upon arrival, the officer made contact with the store’s regional asset protection manager who advised that a female employee, Rebecca Perez, was suspected of stealing lottery tickets, according to the OPD report.
The manager told the officer that on four separate days, Perez was captured on the store’s video surveillance footage taking multiple scratch-off lottery tickets and not scanning them. The OPD report stated that Perez would then redeem each of the winning tickets.
The officer noted in the report that the store had a hard drive containing video footage of the thefts, which totaled $3,349. On June 14, $485 worth of scratch-off lottery tickets were stolen from the store, followed by $1,909 worth of tickets on July 27, $50 worth of tickets on August 9, and $905 worth of tickets on August 11.
The manager advised that when Perez was confronted about the stolen scratch-off lottery tickets, she provided a written confession to the thefts that occurred on the above-listed dates. The officer noted that Perez estimated in the written confession that she had stolen “at least $3,500 to $4,000” worth of lottery tickets from the supermarket while she was working on the four days, according to the OPD report.
The officer made contact with Perez. After being read her Miranda rights, Perez stated that she freely and voluntarily wrote the confession. She advised that everything the manager said was true, and she admitted to stealing all the lottery tickets, according to the OPD report.
Perez told the officer that she was “behind on bills” and was in danger of losing her house and car. She stated that she began taking the scratch-off lottery tickets to “get out of the hole,” but the situation “kept getting worse.” The OPD report stated that she further admitted to having a “really bad gambling problem,” and she would “lose her entire paycheck to lottery scratch-offs.”
After the post-Miranda interview, Perez was placed under arrest and transported to Marion County Jail. She was released from the jail later that day on $2,000 bond, and she is facing a felony charge for grand theft over $1,000.
A court date has been scheduled at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, September 19, according to court records.