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California lottery officials hunt for mystery winner

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California Lottery

Footage from a convenience store surveillance video shows a man lottery officials believe bought a winning ticket worth $52 million in late July.

California Lottery officials are on the lookout for a man they believe is the state’s latest millionaire.

The organization released a surveillance video and a photo of a man they believe bought a winning ticket at a Fremont, Calif., Kwik Stop worth $52 million.

Lottery officials say they believe the man knows he’s the winner because he’s physically checked his ticket multiple times at grocery stores, officials said.

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But more than a month after the drawing July 27, he has yet to come forward and claim his prize, which is why the organization put out the photo and a plea asking the mystery man to bring his winning ticket to a lottery office.

“We see this as an integrity and transparency issue,” said Russ Lopez, California Lottery Deputy Director of Corporate Communications, in a statement. “The California Lottery truly believes that when a person buys a lottery ticket with the hope and prayer of changing their lives, we should do all we can to connect them with their winnings. We believe this effort will make a lot of Californians very happy.”

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In the surveillance video from the Kwik Stop, lottery officials say the man is clearly recognizable and the cashier of the convenience store, A.J. Kumar, told NBCBayArea.com that he’s waited on the mystery winner many times, including on July 25, when he sold the winning ticket.

The winner has up to one year to come forward.

More than $20.5 million in prizes went unclaimed in California over the last two years, lottery officials said. In an effort to connect ticket holders to their winnings, the California Lottery has begun sending out photos of apparent winners of unclaimed prizes. 

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