Christopher Fontina

Christopher Fontina

Instead of banking his scratch from scratch-off lottery tickets, one Dunnellon man found himself hauled off to jail.

On Wednesday, Nov. 6, Christopher Michael Fontina, 40, was arrested and charged with one felony count of grand theft after allegedly stealing $840 worth of lottery tickets from the Sunoco gas station on North Citrus Springs Boulevard in Citrus Springs where he was employed.

According to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office arrest report, Fontina’s employer, Nimoy Thakkar, noticed he was short on lottery tickets several days in a row, which prompted him to look at his surveillance video.

On the video he watched Fontina, behind the counter, tearing lottery tickets off one by one, scratching them off, then scanning them to see if they were winners before tossing them in the trash can.

Also, Fontina carefully opened and closed the cash register after each lottery ticket he threw away, which was a way of documenting the “sale” of the lottery ticket.

As of Nov. 6, Thakkar had reviewed the surveillance video from as far back as Nov. 1, observing Fontina scanning lottery tickets without paying for them, with a tallied value of $840.

Since that time, Thakkar has viewed more of the surveillance video, bringing the current loss at $1,396, said Brittany Carman, CCSO spokeswoman.

Carman added, “At this time, we do not have information on how many tickets were ‘winners’ and if they were cashed out or not.”

Fontina was arrested at a Citrus Springs residence and transported to the Citrus County Detention Facility in Lecanto for booking and processing.

It was not his lucky day.

Contact Chronicle reporter Nancy Kennedy at 352-564-2927 or nkennedy@chronicleonline.com.

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