A lucky but late Southern California lottery winner had until Wednesday to claim a six-figure prize he or she won at the beginning of the year.
The MEGA Millions ticket was bought Jan. 25 at Super Stop Liquor in Dana Point. It’s worth $156,712.
The shop’s owner said it’s the biggest winner he’s ever had, and asked his customers to dig through their drawers. Vendors receive .05 percent of the prize sold at their store, according to the California Lottery.
Local news from across Southern California
Owner Sammy Yun said about half his customers are tourists, so it’s possible the winner has long since left the Golden State.
Surveillance video from the liquor store shows the winner. Lottery officials know exactly what time the ticket popped out of the machine – but they’re not sharing.
Anonymous holders of tickets worth $350,000 or more are actively sought out by Lottery officials.
“There’s too many of them,” said John Bridgeroom, Lottery sales manager. “We can’t chase every little ticket. It’s very hard to do that.”
If prizes are not claimed in time, the winnings automatically go to local schools. Winners have 180 days from the date of the draw to claim their prize.
Some $20 million in Lotto prizes went unclaimed between 2011 and 2012, according to Lottery officials.
In Los Angeles County, a winning Powerball ticket worth $465,539 was still unclaimed as of Monday, two months after the drawing. That ticket was sold at Whitley Heights Market at 1900 N. Highland Ave.
Click here for a complete list of unclaimed lotto prizes in California.
If you’re holding a winning ticket, learn how you can claim your prize here.
Correction: A previous version of this article indicated the ticket’s expiration date is Thursday. The correct expiration date is Wednesday, July 24, 2013, according to a news release from the California Lottery.