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Man allegedly kept clerk busy cooking while he stole lottery tickets

Jeff Bobo • Jan 4, 2018 at 7:00 PM

SURGOINSVILLE — A Sneedville man was arraigned on one count of theft Wednesday for allegedly stealing about $300 worth of scratch-off lottery tickets from a Surgoinsville market while the clerk’s back was turned fixing his breakfast.

The theft was caught on video surveillance Dec. 14 shortly before 5:30 a.m. at the Quick Stop market on Highway 11-W.

Store clerk Kim Fugate told Surgoinsville Police Department Chief James Hammonds that a slender white male kept asking her to prepare different food items for him.

“Ms. Fugate stated that while her back was turned, she thought she heard tickets being torn from the (scratch-off) roll, but when she turned she saw nothing,” Hammonds said. “During my investigation, I watched store video which clearly showed the male subject reaching over the side of the counter and removing lottery tickets from the rack.”

The clerk knew the suspect worked at a plant in Phipps Bend, and she was able to provide a vehicle description.

Hammonds located the vehicle and spoke to its owner, who identified Travis Draven Bunch, 21, 348 John McNeil Blvd., Sneedville, as the person he gives a ride to work each day.

Bunch allegedly scratched off all the tickets that same day, and had at least one winner which he allegedly tried to cash in that night, but by then it had been reported stolen and was invalid.

Hammonds showed Bunch the surveillance video, at which time Bunch reportedly admitted he was the one who stole the tickets, and he was arrested on Dec. 27.

All of the stolen scratch-offs were recovered as well.

At the time of his arrest, Bunch was free on bond from an Oct. 5 arrest in Hawkins County for driving on a revoked license, no insurance and a seatbelt violation.

Bunch was released from the Hawkins County Jail on $2,000 bond, and will be back in Sessions Court on March 7 to address both sets of charges.

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