Woman pleads guilty to stealing lottery tickets

The former manager of a Kingman convenience store charged with stealing about $25,000 worth of lottery tickets from the store over a three-year span, pleaded guilty to two of her four charges Tuesday afternoon in Mohave County Superior Court.

Veronica Marcella Hecker, 41, pleaded guilty to a reduced theft charge and possession of dangerous drugs, both felonies.

Hecker, who had been free on bond, had been charged with felony theft, fraudulent schemes and artifices, possession of dangerous drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The fraudulent schemes and artifices and possession of drug paraphernalia were dropped.

Superior Court Judge Richard Weiss set March 22 as Hecker's sentencing date.

She could receive anywhere from 2 to 8 3/4 years in prison for the reduced theft charge.

The drug charge could tack on another one to 3 1/2 years.

The store's owner, Eric Hodges, declined comment on Hecker's change of plea.

In Hecker's last hearing, Weiss denied two motions that her attorney, Billy Sipe Jr., filed.

One motion was to separate her theft charges from her drug charges and another motion was to suppress the evidence found at her residence and her vehicle.

Kingman police and investigators from the Arizona State Lottery arrested Hecker in August after she stole lottery tickets from her employer, a convenience store in the 2200 block of Kingman Avenue.

Nearly 7,500 mostly $1 and $2 tickets were stolen from the store, records show.

Hecker had worked at the convenience store for seven years, the past three years as manager.

On July 31, Hodges notified the Arizona State Lottery that he suspected lottery tickets were being stolen from the store, records show.

An investigation of the thefts led police officers to search Hecker's residence.

Some tickets were then recovered at her home along with methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

The stolen tickets may have resulted in her winning more than $240,000, going back at least three years, records show.