SJ Gamblin' Man: Serial Lottery Thief on Loose

A serial lottery ticket thief is on the loose in San Jose.

By Chris Roberts
|  Thursday, Dec 15, 2011  |  Updated 3:17 PM PDT
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29-year-old Kelsey Pham is wanted in connection with 18 store burglaries throughout the south bay.  Police say Pham takes lottery scratch tickets.  NBC Bay Area's George Kiriyama reports from San Jose, where police have released surveillance video of a burglary in progress.

29-year-old Kelsey Pham is wanted in connection with 18 store burglaries throughout the south bay. Police say Pham takes lottery scratch tickets. NBC Bay Area's George Kiriyama reports from San Jose, where police have released surveillance video of a burglary in progress.

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As if stealing and gambling weren't vice enough -- this guy has to steal to gamble.

California Lottery officials are asking the public to help them find a perhaps-unorthodox, but perhaps-brilliant criminal: a man who has lifted lottery tickets from at least 18 convenience stores in the South Bay and Silicon Valley, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Kelsey Pham, 29, frequents coffee houses in Little Saigon and sometimes homeless encampments, according to the newspaper. He's also been on a burglary rampage, purloining items from at least 11 convenience stores in San Jose since October, the newspaper reported.

Pham's plan is straightforward, according to the officials who have issued an arrest warrant for the man last known to have lived in San Jose: he walks into a store, steals lottery tickets, and cashes in the winning tickets a few days later, the newspaper said.

According to surveillance, he's 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, with short black hair, crooked teeth, and tattoos on both arms down to the wrists. The public is urged to ring lottery officials at 800-LOTTERY. That's law enforcement's winning number, anyway.
 

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