July 18, 2024
Scratchers worth $95,565 were stolen from stores in seven counties over an eight-month period in 2022, prosecutors said.

MARTINEZ – The leader of a retail theft ring that stole nearly $100,000 worth of California State Lottery Scratchers tickets from stores in seven Northern California counties pleaded guilty to nine felony charges Friday, according to East Bay prosecutors.

Ryan Anderson, 32, of Antioch, will serve three years in state prison under the terms of the plea deal, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. He must also admit probation violations and pay full restitution to the state lottery.

In 2022, state lottery investigators identified Anderson as the leader of a group responsible for 71 separate thefts of lottery tickets from 65 convenience and grocery stores in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano and Stainslaus counties between March 27 and Oct. 25 of that year, according to prosecutors.

The district attorney’s office said the tickets were valued at $95,565 and contained $59,105 in prize money.

The thefts ended after Contra Costa prosecutors were able to keep Anderson in custody.

At a court hearing in Martinez, the state lottery said the thefts hurt both it and the “small independently owned businesses that rely on the sale of lottery games to thrive.” In addition, players lost out on the opportunity to win and public school students were “robbed of additional funds to support important programs,” the lottery said.

Anderson presented a letter of apology to his victims, stating in part that he wants to make an “honest living” and “pay back any money (that) is owed,” according to prosecutors.

The district attorney’s office said a state law allowed it to prosecute Anderson for all of his crimes, even though they occurred in multiple counties.

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“Organized retail crime is a serious crime that will not be tolerated in our communities,” District Attorney Diana Becton said. “We will continue to work with our retailers and all of our state and local justice partners to hold these offenders accountable with arrest, prosecution, conviction, incarceration, and full restitution.”