Lottery gives Long Island man his stolen prize

August 17, 2011 2:17:11 PM PDT
A fight over a lotto ticket on Long Island is over, and it's left the man who bought the ticket very happy.

Someone took his winning $10,000 ticket and he was told he would not be getting the money.

"Thank God! Thank God. God must work for the lotto," said Robert Collins, lottery winner.

Robert Collins is a very thankful man after the New York State Lottery paid up $10,000.

Its money Collins won fair and square but feared he might never see.

"I always thought I would get lucky and this is my time to be lucky," Collins said.

Last week it was his lack of luck that attracted Eyewitness News' attention.

After he bought a winning quick draw ticket at a Holbrook bar called Richie D's, where as he celebrated his win, bartender Nichol Anderson allegedly stole the ticket.

She then allegedly passed it to a relative, Roseanne Alicea, who cashed the prize and spent all the money.

State Police arrested both women, and the bartender was fired on the spot.

"It was one of our newer bartenders and we feel very sad because we feel very bad for him," said Allison Nelson, of Richie D's.

Because the lottery already had paid out the prize, Collins was told he'd have to seek restitution from Anderson and Alicea.

But, not long after Eyewitness News called the state lottery, Collins got the call to come back to the state office in Garden City, and pick up his prize.

"I actually have to thank Eyewitness News for getting involved in the life of a working man and bringing attention to a moderate prize, but a prize that means more to me than any prize," Collins said.

After Eyewitness News' calls and their internal investigation the lottery wound up reissuing the check in this case, but they say that's an exception to their usual policy.

They're not responsible for lost or stolen tickets.

If you win, when you come to the window you need to make sure your ticket is signed, whether you win $10,000, $10 million or just $10.