$1 million lottery prize goes unclaimed

tmcdonald@newsobserver.comOctober 24, 2011 

— Time expired this afternoon on a winning lottery ticket worth $1 million.

Ryan Kennemur of the N.C. Education Lottery stood in front of the digital clock in the window of the Crown New Bern Station and counted down the last 10 seconds.

Six months ago, on April 27, a customer at the convenience store at 1210 New Bern Avenue purchased a lottery ticket that matched five white balls in the Powerball drawing: 4, 24, 40, 44 and 55.

The odds of doing that are 1 in 5,138,133, so state lottery officials figured they would greet the happy winner soon enough.

But when months passed and no one showed up to claim a cool million, the folks at the N.C. Education Lottery decided to get the word out with a public awareness blitz.

They alerted the media. They announced a search for the winner on the state lottery website. They stuck a digital clock in the window of the store that counted down the days, hours, minutes and seconds leading up to the deadline.

At 5 p.m. it was a done deal.

At 5:02 p.m., Kennemur was stowing the clock in the trunk of his car when a New Bern Station customer walked over to him.

"He said, 'What if I have the ticket now,'" a disappointed Kennemur said. "I asked him, do you? He said, 'No.'"

Kennemur said even though it was after 5 p.m. if someone had actually shown up with the ticket he would have personally driven the winner to the lottery's claim center on Yonkers Road.

Half of the prize money will go to the state's education fund, while the other half will fund some of the prizes in other lottery games.

"I wish someone had won," Kennemur said. "It's disappointing, but at least education gets half of it."

McDonald: 919-829-4533

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