$1 million lottery ticket sold at North Strabane store

October 15, 2013
Dawna Ransil, a cashier at TJ’s Deli Mart in North Strabane Township, holds a list of winning Pennsylvania Lottery numbers while Christie Keith works the cash register at the store Tuesday. The convenience store sold a $1 million Cash 5 lottery ticket Monday. - Mike Jones / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

TJ’s Deli Mart in North Strabane Township was buzzing with excitement and wild speculation Tuesday after the Pennsylvania Lottery notified store workers they had sold a $1 million Cash 5 ticket the previous day.

Maryann Goodwill, the manager at the convenience store along Route 19, said workers were “asking everyone” who came in if they bought a ticket Monday.

“Everybody’s excited about it,” Goodwill said. “They’re saying they want to buy their lottery tickets here now. They’re thrilled to see people really do win.”

Store cashier Dawna Ransil was working the register at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday when she took the phone call from the Pennsylvania Lottery informing them the store had sold the ticket that correctly matched all five balls, 02-21-34-36-39, to win the jackpot.

“I was screaming and telling everyone,” Ransil said.

But who exactly won the $1 million jackpot remained a mystery Tuesday afternoon as lottery officials arrived to erect a banner announcing the store had sold a Cash 5 winner. Lottery officials said they cannot confirm the winner’s identity until the person comes forward with the ticket, which can be authenticated up to a year after the drawing.

But that didn’t stop the convenience store workers and customers from speculating.

Ransil wondered aloud if a man she had sold $40 worth of Cash 5 tickets Monday was the winner.

“It’s exciting, but I still want to know who it was,” Ransil said. “We’re walking on air. You would’ve thought I won.”

The store will receive a $5,000 bonus for selling the ticket, and it’s also been the site of two other recent winners. Goodwill said the store sold a $900 scratch-off ticket Monday and were looking into whether another customer had purchased a $23,000 Treasure Hunt jackpot winner from them recently.

“(Monday) was a lucky day here,” Goodwill said.

The workers were trying to parlay that good luck into more winning customers.

Christie Keith, another cashier working the register, spoke about the jackpot as customers checked out with their items.

“We’re the lucky store,” Keith said.

A woman, who declined to be identified, heard the news and bought a Daily Number and scratch-off ticket while on her lunch break.

“Yinz must be lucky,” she said.

However, not everyone was trying their luck at the convenience store. Keith rattled off all the winners who had come through in the past few days as a man handed over a couple of bucks for a soft drink.

“Maybe next time,” he said before taking his drink and walking through the door.

Pennsylvania Lottery officials said the holder of the winning Cash 5 ticket should immediately sign the back of the stub and call its Dauphin County headquarters at 717-702-8146 to file a claim. The claim can then be filed in person on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the local lottery office at 1424 Western Ave. in Pittsburgh, or at any of the seven other offices.

Mike Jones has been a news reporter since 2005, covering crime, state and municipal government, education and energy. In addition to working at the Observer-Reporter, he also has spent time at the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail and Patch.com. He holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University.

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