The public fascination with who won the record $587.5 million Powerball jackpot turned to Maryland on Friday, as reports surfaced that a customer at an Upper Marlboro gas station claimed he had the coveted winning ticket.
Negassi Ghebre, acting manager of the Marlboro Village Exxon, said he was manning the cash register when the man walked in Thursday afternoon to check lottery tickets he had bought.
"We gave him the winning numbers, then he matched them," Ghebre said. "He realized that he's the winner."
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Ghebre said the man did not identify himself but said he was retired from the military. Surveillance camera footage aired on CNN, purportedly of the man, showed him wearing a yellow jumpsuit with what appeared to be a Virginia Department of Transportation logo on the back. Ghebre said he got the impression the man lived in Maryland.
Missouri lottery officials announced Friday that a woman in Dearborn had turned in one of two winning tickets sold for the Powerball drawing Wednesday, with all six numbers chosen correctly. The winner, Cindy Hill, had bought the ticket at a convenience store, then left it in her car overnight before checking it Thursday.
The other winning number was sold at a convenience store in Arizona, officials said. No one has come forward yet to claim that prize.
Huge jackpots tend to incite a media frenzy and occasional hoaxes. Earlier this year, a Westport woman gained short-lived celebrity when she claimed she had won a share of a $656 million Mega Millions jackpot, only to have lottery officials announce several days later that the winning Maryland ticket had been sold to three Maryland public school educators, who preferred to remain anonymous.
If the latest report pans out, it would mean the second Maryland Powerball winner this week. A Harford County custodian, Almerta Williams, won second place in the drawing, worth $2 million.
More still may step forward. Maryland lottery spokeswoman Carole Everett said more than 225,000 winning tickets with fewer than all six numbers picked correctly were sold in the state, some with prizes of $100 or $10,000.