LAKE IN THE HILLS – A Lake in the Hills teen is due in court next month on charges of stealing a lottery ticket from his friend's parents that turned out to be a $10,000 winner.
Nikko R. Gonzalez, 19, of 5421 Crossview Lane, is charged with one felony count of theft. He had first been charged in June with a misdemeanor, but the charge was upgraded in mid-August.
At his arraignment on Aug. 28, Gonzalez pleaded not guilty.
"He's friends with the son of the victims," said Sgt. Mark Smith of the Lake in the Hills Police Department. "While playing video games at the victims' house, he saw where they were putting their unused lottery tickets."
Gonzalez took one of the tickets, which was a $20 scratch off, Smith said.
It was a winner.
"When the parents were scratching their tickets, they noticed they were missing one," Smith said. "They started getting suspicious and started investigating themselves. After that, they got us involved."
The family then found out that Gonzalez was a lottery winner.
"He showed the son the winning ticket that happened to be the same type that [the parents] were missing," Smith said.
The couple, who had bought their ticket from Armenetti Beverage Mart in Algonquin, was able to confirm that the winning ticket came from the same location, Smith said.
Gonzalez first told police that he couldn't remember where he bought his ticket, then said he bought it somewhere in the Chicago area.