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Elkton family business sold jackpot-winning Powerball ticket

On Christmas morning, an unidentified man called the restaurant and liquor store Wesley's in Elkton and asked for the winning Powerball numbers.

When a clerk read the numbers over the phone, the mystery caller said, "Looks like I am the winner."

So far, that's all the longtime family-run restaurant, lounge and liquor store knows about the person who won the $125 million jackpot. Maryland Lottery officials don't know who the winner is either. Like nearly all state offices, the agency was closed Monday, said spokeswoman Carole Y. Everett.

The winner bought at least one random-pick Powerball ticket at 3:13 p.m. Saturday at the liquor store.

Monday morning, Maryland Lottery security officials were at Wesley's, verifying that the $125 million jackpot-winning Powerball ticket was sold there.

"We looked on the camera to see who was the seller — I was the seller," said Jeff Wesley, a member of the family that operates the restaurant, which opened in 1951.

"He bought some beer," Wesley said. And, of course, the lottery ticket.

Though they scoured their video of the buyer, neither Wesley nor anybody else there recognized him. They guess they'll find out later this week.

The caller also told the clerk he'd come by in a couple of days — "after the media hype has been all settled down," Wesley said.

"It's all the talk," Wesley said.

The winner's good fortune extends to the store as well: It will get a $25,000 commission, lottery officials said.

"We are going to take all of the money and put in back into the business," Wesley said. "I'm just happy to be involved in this."

The store previously sold winning lottery tickets, including a $40,000 Keno winner, but "nothing of this magnitude," Wesley said.

Everett, the Maryland Lottery's spokeswoman, said it appears that the nationwide drawing yielded a single winner — but she didn't know if it was a shared ticket. The $125 million prize has a $78.9 million cash option and would come to $51.87 million after taxes.

She said it's not uncommon for a winner to take several days to step forward, or to be publicity shy.

This is the second winning Powerball jackpot ticket bought in the state. Another jackpot-winning ticket was purchased in September in Abingdon. In addition to Maryland, Powerball tickets are sold in 31 other states and Washington, D.C.

The winning numbers were 14, 16, 30, 51, 52 and the Powerball was 19 with a Power Play of x2.

"Personally, as far as a business owner, we will take the publicity we get," Wesley said — noting that Mega Millions jackpot was up to $206 million for the Tuesday drawing.

andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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