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Jurupa Valley man denies stealing lottery scratchers from Inland convenience stores

By in Press Enterprise on October 11, 2017

By Michael Watanabe

A probationer accused of stealing lottery tickets from convenience stores in both Riverside and San Bernardino counties and redeeming some of them to collect small winnings was charged Tuesday with identity theft and burglary.

Garry Thomas Gordon, 24, of Jurupa Valley, was arrested Thursday, Riverside police have said. Along with the felony allegations, Gordon is also charged with misdemeanor counts of theft and being in possession of a controlled substance.

He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

He’s being held in lieu of $25,000 bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.

According to Riverside police Sgt. Pete Elliott, the first theft was reported in July, after which nearly a dozen other thefts occurred — all of which investigators say are connected to Gordon.

“The suspect would enter a convenience store and ask the clerk to retrieve a quantity of lottery tickets to purchase,” Elliott said. “The suspect would then distract the clerk with a request to purchase items away from the counter, and when the clerk would turn to retrieve the items, the suspect would grab the tickets and flee.”

According to the sergeant, Gordon is accused of redeeming several winning scratcher tickets at various locations, collecting nominal sums, before they were reported stolen.

In addition to the Riverside metropolitan area, Gordon is accused of perpetrating the same offenses in San Bernardino County, according to Elliott.

Detectives were able to compile enough evidence to identify the defendant, culminating in a search warrant being served Thursday at his home in the 5900 block of Avenue Juan Bautista, where he was taken into custody without incident.

According to court records, Gordon has a prior misdemeanor conviction for illegal entry resulting in property damage, for which he was sentenced to three years probation in September 2015.

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