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White Bear Lake Couple Charged with State Lottery Fraud

Police say Chad Michael Larson and Sammantha Jean Doerneman burglarized a grocery store in Dodge Center in June and stole more than 1,000 state lottery tickets.

A White Bear Lake couple has been charged with stealing more than 1,000 state lottery tickets from a grocery store in Dodge Center, then driving back to the Twin Cities, cashing the tickets along the way.

Chad Michael Larson, 35, and Sammantha Jean Doerneman, 28, are each charged with state lottery fraud, a felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

According to the criminal complaints, police in Dodge Center were called to a grocery store on June 19 to investigate a burglary.

Surveillance video showed a man and a woman wearing a bandanna over her face break into the store at about 3 a.m. after driving to the store in a pickup truck.

The two burglarized the store, stealing more than 100 cartons of cigarettes, 250 cigarette lighters, 50 energy drinks and more than 1,100 lottery tickets, according to the complaints.

Minnesota Lottery officials notified authorities that “numerous” lottery tickets were cashed later the same day at a number of locations between Dodge Center and White Bear Lake. At 6:50 a.m., four stolen tickets were cashed at a gas station in Hampton; surveillance video of that incident showed the same couple, later identified as Larson and Doerneman, presenting the winning tickets to the store clerk and leaving with $90 in cash winnings.

At 7:40 a.m., Larson and Doerneman presented nine winning tickets to the clerk at a gas station in Inver Grove Heights, then left with $225 in cash winnings, according to the complaints.

Authorities determined the couple’s identities through a statewide crime alert. Police executed a search warrant at their White Bear Lake home and found more than 900 of the stolen lottery tickets, along with cartons of cigarettes and lighters, the complaints charge.

Larson was arrested. As police told him he was being arrested for burglary and lottery fraud, he said, “It was all me,” adding that he “forced her to do it,” according to the complaints.

Larson’s criminal history includes felony convictions for theft in 1995 and 2005 and aggravated forgery in 2005. Doerneman was convicted of state lottery fraud in Ramsey County in September and is scheduled to be sentenced on that conviction on Nov. 20.

Larson and Doerneman are scheduled to make first appearances on the charges Nov. 5 in Dakota County District Court in Hastings.

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