The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a suspect responsible for a smash-and-grab robbery of more than $5,000 in scratch-off lottery tickets from the Mi-Wuk General Store last week.
In surveillance footage of the robbery, which occurred about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, a man in a black hat, black T-shirt and a cloth covering his face smashes a glass-paned window of the Mi-Wuk General Store with a large rock.
The rock shatters one side of the double-paned glass door, and the man again uses the large rock to shatter the other side of the glass.
The man climbs over the upper half of the door into the store and scurries to the front register area, where 12 rolls of scratch-off lottery tickets are in a plastic container set on the countertop. The man rips the container off the countertop, pushes it through the bottom half of the door, and then runs away from the building.
The Mi-Wuk General Store is on Highway 108 in Mi-Wuk Village.
Jim Drewrey, owner of the store, said he lives on the property and heard a crash at 12:26 a.m. He was at the business in “less than four minutes,” he said, and at least three other witnesses were already out front.
“You could tell he knew what he was doing,” Drewrey said. “It was very well planned. He was in and out in 11 seconds.”
The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched as a result of the alarm going off, Drewrey said.
Sgt. Andrea Benson said the stolen lottery tickets and alcohol taken from the business was valued at about $5,100. Two witnesses said a black sedan sped away westbound on Highway 108 after the burglary, but neither of them made a clear description of the vehicle.
The vehicle was described as “newer” and either two or four door, Benson said.
Benson said deputies patrolled the area but were unable to find a vehicle matching the description.
Drewery said witnesses saw the man run from the business and into a waiting vehicle, which sped off right when he entered inside.
Drewery said he was still determining the extent of the damage and the total value of the stolen lottery tickets.
The double-paned glass door was estimated at about $1,500 dollars to fix, he said, and a steel candy rack inside the business had also been damaged when the large rock soared through the second window.
At least eight of the 12 rolls of lottery tickets had already been cashed by the time Drewrey reported the theft to representatives of the California State Lottery.
The total value of the lottery tickets is $5,500 when new, he said, and at least $4,000 remained on the racks when the plastic container was stolen.
Drewrey said he has already received a $2,600 bill for lottery tickets that has been cashed.
A state investigator also visited the business after the theft and is assisting in the investigation of the crime, he said.
“I’m overwhelmed by the support of the community and the calls and the leads we have,” he said. “I feel very very confident we will have them both as soon as the Sheriff’s department can keep pursuing.”
According to Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office logs, a person who evicted tenants from a Twain Harte Drive property found drugs and over $1,000 in lottery tickets in an abandoned vehicle Thursday afternoon.