A Port Jefferson Station man has been arrested in connection with stealing $25,000 in New York State Lottery scratch-off tickets from the store where he worked, police said.

Richard M. Nogid, 46, was arrested Wednesday by State Police on third-degree grand larceny charges in the theft of the tickets from a vending machine at the Rite Aid store in Shirley, where he was general manager.

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Police said Nogid removed "thousands" of tickets from the machine between April and July, scratched them, then claimed the winnings.

No big jackpots were claimed by Nogid, police said.

Police said the largest winning ticket so far uncovered was for $1,500, but that the total value of winning tickets remains under investigation by police and lottery officials.

Police said stealing lottery tickets is a dead-end crime for thieves, mostly because the tickets are easy to trace.

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All lottery tickets contain computer codes and can be traced to a specific vendor or vending machine, and then matched against a person claiming the ticket.