Bellefonte

Former Bellefonte Mart employee found guilty of stealing thousands in lotto tickets

A former Bellefonte Mart employee was convicted Monday of stealing thousands in lottery tickets from the business.
A former Bellefonte Mart employee was convicted Monday of stealing thousands in lottery tickets from the business. Centre Daily Times, file

A former Bellefonte Mart employee was found guilty Monday of stealing nearly $7,000 of Pennsylvania lottery tickets from the business and more than $4,400 in winnings, Centre County District Attorney Megan McGoron said.

Six men and six women deliberated for about 15 minutes before convicting Donna Hepfer, 56, of one felony count each of theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and retail theft. She is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 6, McGoron said.

Borough police, along with a compliance manager from the Pennsylvania lottery, found 25 packs of lottery tickets were stolen after the store’s owner reported missing money, according to a criminal complaint filed by police in August.

Hepfer, of Bellefonte, was a “trusted employee” who cashed the winning tickets at local businesses, including tickets worth more than $2,000 at Weis, McGoron said during her opening statement Monday. Police reviewed video of Hepfer cashing the tickets, according to the complaint.

First Assistant Public Defender Deb Lux did not dispute Hepfer’s forays into Weis to cash winning lottery tickets, but said she “did not steal lottery tickets from the Bellefonte Mart.”

Hepfer met with police in August and admitted to stealing the lottery tickets to support her gambling habits, the cost of living and to support her family and friends.

“She thought she could get away with it,” McGoron said during her opening statement.

Bret Pallotto primarily reports on courts and crime for the Centre Daily Times. He grew up in Lewistown and graduated from Lock Haven University.
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