A man suspected in several 2017 lottery scams has been taken into custody by the Los Angeles Police Department, officials reported Wednesday.
Nickey Yonko, aka Steven John Adams, was taken into police custody on April 19. After a lengthy investigation Yonko was identified as a suspect in a series of grand thefts involving lottery tickets across several parts of Los Angeles, the LAPD said.
Between Aug. 18, 2017 through Oct. 23, 2017, police said Yonko entered several liquor stores and asked to purchase California Lottery “Hot Spot” tickets. Employees would print the lottery tickets and place them on the counter. Police allege Yonko would then distract the employees and retrieve expired tickets from his person, then swap those out for the newly printed lottery tickets.
Yonko is accused of putting the new tickets in his pocket, leaving the expired tickets on the counter and telling the employees he needed to get more money from his car. After leaving the liquor stores with the stolen lottery tickets, Yonko did not return.
“The employee became suspicious when the suspect did not return and discovered the tickets were expired and not the ones he had printed,” LAPD said in the news release.
After reviewing surveillance videos, several employees discovered Yonko had switched old tickets for freshly printed ones.
LAPD said Yonko is responsible for numerous grand thefts in Los Angeles, as well as Long Beach, Monrovia and La Verne.