Monday, November 20, 2017

Mo. Powerball winner verified; Ariz.'s a mystery

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DEARBORN, Mo. — Missouri Lottery officials on Thursday verified one of two tickets that matched all six numbers to split a record $587.5 million Powerball jackpot, but that ticket holder — and another in Arizona — remained a mystery, even as neighbors and co-workers lamented their losses and gossiped about who may have won.

The tickets were sold at a convenience store in suburban Phoenix and a gas station in Dearborn, Mo., just off Interstate 29, the highway linking Kansas City to the Canadian border.

Missouri lottery officials said they verified a ticket that was presented to them Thursday and set a news conference for noon eastern time today at North Platte High School near Trex Mart, where the ticket was bought.

Lottery Chief Operations Officer Gary Gonder couldn't provide any details, including whether the ticket was bought by someone from Missouri.

Speculation had many of Dearborn's 500 residents buzzing about who had won.

Cashiers Kristi Williams and Kelly Blount greeted customers with big smiles and questions about whether they had bought the winning ticket.

"It's just awesome," Williams said. "It's so exciting. We can't even work."

Karen Meyers, a server at the Cook's Corner Cafe said she didn't believe it at first when she heard the winning ticket had been sold nearby.

The winning ticket sold in Arizona was purchased at a 4 Sons Food Store in Fountain Hills near Phoenix, state lottery officials said. Customers poured into the store to check their tickets and share in the big moment.

"I think it's crazy, and I also think it's great," said Bob Chebat, who manages the 4 Sons. "I'm glad that all that work yesterday wasn't for nothing."

The store was swept up in a nationwide ticket-buying spree preceding Wednesday's drawing, with the big money enticing many people who rarely, if ever, play the lottery to buy a shot at the payout.

Winners in both states have 180 days to claim their share of the prize money.

The numbers drawn Wednesday night were 5, 16, 22, 23, 29. The Powerball was 6. The $587.5 million payout represents the second-largest jackpot in U.S. history.

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