Florida woman accused of stealing lottery tickets worth $8,700

Florida woman accused of stealing lottery tickets worth $8,700
Authorities said Ersela Evans-Lowe was found with $8,700 worth of stolen lottery tickets while inside a stolen SUV. (Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office)

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. — Lottery fever is sweeping the nation, with the Mega Millions jackpot currently at $750 million while the Powerball is set at $640 million. Authorities in Florida said a woman took the mania a step too far.

Ersela Evans-Lowe, 27, is accused of stealing $8,700 worth of Florida lottery tickets, WEAR-TV reported. Okaloosa County deputies said Evans-Lowe was also caught inside a stolen vehicle, according to a news release.

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Evans-Lowe was charged with grand theft, possession of lottery tickets not yet played, and grand theft of a motor vehicle, according to online booking records.

On Thursday night, deputies responded to a convenience store in Okaloosa County, where they found Evans-Lowe in a parking lot, sitting in a 2008 Nissan Armada SUV with two flat rear tires and flashing hazard lights, according to the release.

Deputies determined the SUV had been stolen earlier Thursday, WKRG reported.

When deputies asked Evans-Lowe to exit the SUV, a black purse fell to the ground, spilling out nearly a dozen packs of wrapped Florida lottery ticket bundles, the sheriff’s office said. Video surveillance later showed Evans-Lowe had stolen the tickets from the convenience store while she was attempting to cash a check. The clerk had been unaware of the theft, according to the news release.