$100k lottery winner comes forward close to deadline

Four hours before her winning $100,000 lottery ticket was to expire, Karen Gentry of Alexandria showed up at a Virginia lottery center Tuesday to claim her prize.

The winning numbers (6-15-18-23-32) were announced May 2, and by Virginia law the prize-winning ticket was set to expire at 5 p.m. Tuesday — 180 days after the drawing.

But Gentry hadn’t checked her ticket.

She said she stashed it in a box in her kitchen after she bought it and hadn’t thought about it until she heard news reports Tuesday that Virginia lottery officials were looking for the winner of the unclaimed prize as the 5 p.m. deadline drew near.

“So I looked, and there it was,” Gentry told Virginia lottery officials, according to a news release issued by the agency. “I called my husband, and he said, ‘Yeah, right.’ ”

Gentry bought the ticket at a 7-11 convenience store in the 5800 block of North Kings Highway in Alexandria. She told lottery officials that she let the computer randomly select her numbers. She then put her ticket in the box.

“I always check the numbers, so I’m amazed I missed it,” she said. Gentry said she works in carpet sales and had no immediate plans for her winnings. She showed up at a lottery customer service center in Woodbridge shortly before 1 p.m. to claim the money.

Virginia lottery officials said there has been more than $234 million in unclaimed prize money since 1988. The unclaimed money goes to Virginia’s Literary Fund, which pays for technology upgrades in schools and teacher retirement funds.

Dana Hedgpeth is a Post reporter, working the early morning, reporting on traffic, crime and other local issues.

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