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Powerball jackpot reaches record $425 million

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Lottery sales doubled overnight at convenience stores on Charleston's East End, store workers said Sunday as the Powerball jackpot surpassed an all-time record.

Some customers going in and out of the Exxon One Stop on Washington Street East were getting tickets for Wednesday's Powerball drawing. Wednesday's jackpot is up to an estimated $425 million.

Store manager Mary Stewart normally arrives at work on Sundays to find $500 in lottery sales from the night before. That wasn't the case this weekend.

"It pretty much doubled," she said. "There was more than $1,000 there just from Powerball and lottery."

Store clerks said a number of people showed up late Saturday night to buy tickets for the day's drawing, which had an estimated jackpot of $325 million. They sold tickets right up until the cut off period at 10 p.m. for the 11 p.m. drawing.

There were no jackpot winners Saturday night.

Stewart said the store would likely be busy with jackpot dreamers over the next few days. So far it hasn't been anything like it was earlier this year when the Mega Millions jackpot reached $540 million, she said. Nearly every customer then was also buying a lottery ticket.

"The drawing's not until Wednesday, so you can just imagine - I'm sure it probably will be pretty busy in here and at other stores," Stewart said.

She said a few customers have come in with large bills to buy multiple tickets. A man came in earlier in the day and asked for 50 tickets, one of the clerks said.

The store manager said employees are allowed to buy tickets but can't while they are on shift. She said she does buy lottery tickets on occasion and that she more than likely would pick one up for Wednesday's drawing.

When asked what she would do with her winnings, she said, "Sit on it. I'm not going to be like these idiots who blow it all a year after they win."

Customers weighed in on the lottery as well.

Horace Coleman, 28, of Charleston stopped in on his way home from holiday traveling. He said he would first cash the ticket, and then get a lawyer.

"Then I'm going to get another lawyer to watch the first lawyer," Coleman joked. "I'm not going to be going on any spending sprees or anything."

Coleman, a part-time custodian for Kanawha County Schools, said he would give money to his immediate family, his parents, sister and grandmother. He also would fix up his grandfather's house and invest in real estate.

While no spending sprees were planned, he said his big-ticket item would be a yacht.

He bought his ticket early but said he doesn't buy lottery tickets often.

"I'll buy one every once in a while when the pot's high," he said.

Gabriel Anderson, 47, planned on buying multiple tickets with tip money from his job at Capitol Car Wash on Washington Street.

Anderson didn't realize the jackpot was so high but said he planned on winning.

"Me and about a billion other people," he said.

Anderson said he would take care of his friends and family first.

"Then I'd hide out for a while and figure out what charities I wanted to give to," he said. "I want to invest and figure out what will keep me paid.

"Then maybe I'd take a vacation."

He knew of several athletes who went broke blowing all their millions. Anderson said he would try to be wise about spending the winnings, if he won, investing in small businesses and charities.

"Help the needy, not the greedy," he said.

But first, he said, he'd have to buy the ticket.

"If you don't play, you can't win," Anderson said before getting onto his bicycle and riding away.


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