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Couple Finds $8,000 In Winning Lottery Tickets

October 15, 1986

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A woman who reached for chocolate syrup in the back of her kitchen cabinet found something much sweeter - $8,000 worth of winning lottery tickets.

State lottery officials are trying to determine whether the tickets are valid, and why they were stashed in eight lunch bags and left in the Chula Vista apartment that Tammy and Rick Atkins, both 27, rented six weeks ago.

Mrs. Atkins found the tickets Sunday when she climbed up on the kitchen counter to look for chocolate syrup on the top shelf. At first, she only found two bags and assumed the tickets were losers. When the couple realized the tickets were winners, they searched some more and turned up six more bags in another cabinet.

The couple and their friends spent seven hours tallying up the 3,500 tickets Sunday, but because Monday was a holiday, they had to wait until Tuesday to notify lottery officials.

″We’ve had time enough for a trillion different thoughts to run through our heads,″ Mrs. Atkins said. Her husband said he thought of cashing some of the tickets but decided ″something’s not right about the tickets.″ Atkins said he was uncomfortable with the tickets and eager to hand them over to lottery officials.

With a few exceptions, the tickets came from one grocery store in the border community of San Ysidro. Bob Nieto, supervising agent for lottery security in San Diego and Imperial counties, said it’s likely the tickets were retrieved by someone after they were thrown into the trash by store employees who neglected to mark them as redeemed.

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