Lottery winner CC Ervins Strauhmanis CC Peter Burka

When a two million dollar lottery ticket accidentally ended up in the trash, a pair of store owners had to become detectives to reunite it with the customer who bought it.

The unidentified winner routinely buys $200 worth of lottery tickets at a time from Yogi Patel and his wife, Vilsa, who own Leprechaun News in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Recently, a glitch in their lottery machine almost cost their regular customer a huge jackpot.

Usually, he’ll scratch off the covers and hand the tickets to Yogi or Vilsa to scan as he moves on to the next ticket. At the end, he collects his winnings while the store owners drop the losing tickets into a collection box.

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For some reason, the two million dollar ticket didn’t set off any alarms when scanned and ended up in a trash box for losing tickets.

When Yogi went over the lottery receipts for the day, the printout showed a two million dollar ticket had been sold, but no one had claimed the prize.

Some quick detective work let him zero in on the winner.

Few customers played the Double Diamond game because of the expensive $20 tickets, but he knew a regular customer who did. Vilsa realized he had been in the store about the time the winning ticket went through the scanner.

Yogi dug through the collection box and found the winning ticket, and called the customer at home, asking him to come to the store because of an “emergency.”

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When the customer showed up, Yogi greeted him with a smile — and the ticket he’d recovered from the trash.

“He was in shock,” Yogi told the East Rutherford Record.

(Photo: Ervins Strauhmanis, CC; Peter Burka, CC)

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