SOUTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Garden State may have to change its name to the Lucky State.
A group of employees from the Ocean County Vehicle Maintenance Department came to work Thursday knowing they had one of three winning tickets in Wednesday night’s $448.4 million Powerball jackpot, two county officials said Thursday evening.
The ticket, which contained the winning numbers 05, 25, 30, 58, 59 and Powerball 32, was sold at the Little Egg Harbor Acme Market. The two others were sold at a Super Stop & Shop in South Brunswick, and at a store in Minnesota.
“I couldn’t be more happy for them. They’re a group of wonderful, hardworking people, and them showing up for work today ought to tell you something,” said Jim Pine, director of the Vehicle Maintenance Department.
Pine and Freeholder Jack Kelly said 16 employees held the winning ticket. All of them work at the county garage in Toms River, Pine said.
“I got a call today from Jim Pine, who told me that a group of his employees had won. It’s a great thing,” Kelly said.
Pine declined to give any details about the 16 employees but said they are a great staff and he assured them he would respect their privacy.
“They’re really a great group of people. This is my staff. They’re right now trying to work through this. They got lucky,” Pine said.
At the Super Stop & Shop in South Brunswick, many were speculating about the lucky winner.
“We have a core group of people who religiously buy tickets,” store employee Michael Klimczak said. “I have a couple of ideas, but I’m not saying yet.”
“It’s exciting for South Brunswick a small little town in the middle of Jersey and here we are our moment of fame,” customer Emma Peabody said.
“I’m hoping that I know the winner,” one customer said.
Klimczak said just a few months ago, the store sold a $10,000 scratch-off ticket.
“I’m shocked, really. It’s nice to know that it’s close to home and I think this store had a winning ticket not too long ago,” store employee Dennis Davis said.
He is correct. A year ago, a $1 million winning lotto ticket was also purchased at the Super Stop & Shop, but it was never claimed.
If taken in a lump sum, each of the three winning Powerball tickets was worth $86 million before taxes, or $58.3 million after taxes. They are worth $149.4 million over 30 years if the winners choose the annuity option.
New Jersey Lottery Executive Director Carole Hedinger said the winners may be trying to prepare themselves to become extremely rich.
“It may be that the person who bought the ticket here has called, but we can’t confirm that. We generally advise people to seek advice from their financial advisors or legal consultants before they come see us,” Hedinger said.
She also urged the winning ticket holders to sign the back of the ticket.
“If you look at our record since January, I think this is the sixth time that we’ve scored a top multi-state prize,” she added.
In March, 44-year-old Pedro Quezada of Passaic was the sole winner of a Powerball drawing worth $221 million, or about $152 million after taxes. The immigrant from the Dominican Republic owned a bodega.
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