BRENTWOOD — Nathaniel Glavin said he was winning thousands of dollars on scratch tickets, but prosecutors say his claim was simply a ruse to steal dozens of $20 state lottery tickets from seven Seacoast-area stores.
Glavin, of Saco, Maine, was sentenced 1½ to 3 years in state prison on Tuesday after prosecutors revealed how the 35-year-old pulled off seven thefts over the Christmas holiday in the course of 72 hours.
Glavin waived indictment on two felony theft charges and pleaded guilty to theft by unauthorized taking. He was also ordered to pay $2,480 in restitution for the ticket thefts.
Prosecutors said Glavin would ask for several $20 lottery tickets along with smaller priced tickets after telling a clerk he had just won $5,000. In some cases, he would buy other store items, such as diapers, prosecutors said.
When his credit or debit card was declined, he would leave the store, telling the clerk that he was going to an ATM for cash, but he already pocketed the $20 scratch tickets and left behind the lesser valued tickets, according to prosecutors.
His stealing spree started on Dec. 23 about 4 p.m. at Mobil on the Run on Islington Street in Portsmouth.
“He told the clerk he won $5,000, and he wanted to celebrate,” Assistant County Attorney Howard Helrich said Tuesday. Glavin asked for several $20 tickets and an assortment of cheaper ones.
Once Glavin’s debit card was declined, he promised to return with cash, leaving cheaper lottery tickets on the store counter.
When the clerk put away the tickets minutes later, she realized the $20 tickets were gone, Helrich said.
Glavin used the same ploy at Stratham Village Market the next day around 5:30 p.m.
“He claimed he won $5,000 in winning lottery tickets and wanted to buy more,” Helrich said.
Three of the $20 tickets stolen reaped Glavin $190 in combinations, which he cashed in a short time later at another store, according to Helrich.
On Christmas Eve, Glavin also got caught by one store clerk in Newfields and put the tickets back.
But he continued to filch $20 scratch tickets over the next few days from an Irving gas station in Newmarket, a Phillips 66 store in Exeter, the Big Apple Store in Portsmouth and a Hannaford store in Hampton.
Portsmouth police arrested Glavin on Dec. 31. During a search of Glavin’s car, police found a hat and sunglasses that matched ones in surveillance footage gathered from the local stores, police said.
Public defender Debra Dupont argued for her client to serve a 12-month county jail sentence.
“He takes responsibility today for all the thefts and knows what the consequences are,” she said.
Glavin also apologized for his actions. He pleaded for a lenient sentence and said a prison term would only keep him away from his children.
“I am at a turning point in my life,” he said. “You might not see it just by my saying so.”
Judge Marguerite Wageling chided Glavin for using “a sophisticated plan” to steal from area store owners. She said Glavin could have been home with his children during the Christmas holiday instead of committing the thefts.
“Your activity is what’s keeping you from your children,” she said. “You need to turn your life around.”