A Bellefonte Mart employee stole nearly $7,000 worth of lottery tickets from the store during a three-month period, according to Bellefonte police.
After speaking with the store owner, a compliance manager for the Pennsylvania Lottery and a witness, police arrested Donna Hepfer on Wednesday after she allegedly stole 25 packs of lottery tickets from May 1 to June 11.
Hepfer, a 55-year-old from Bellefonte, initially denied stealing the tickets, but later said she could only remember stealing four packs of tickets. She referred to March, April and May as her “big months” and thought she stole about $8,000 from the store.
Hepfer told police she has a gambling problem and stole the tickets because she needed the money to live, to support her gambling habits, to support a friend with depression, to support her family and to pay for heating fuel.
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Police said she stole $6,990 of lottery tickets and won $4,435 — bringing the total thefts to $11,425.
Hepfer was charged with three felonies — theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and retail theft.
She was arraigned before District Judge Kelley Gillette-Walker, who set monetary bail at $10,000. Hepfer did not post bail and is being detained at the Centre County Correctional Facility.
Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.