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Mysterious person claims huge lotto jackpot just 2 days before deadline

CBS News logo CBS News 25/05/2017
Someone has claimed a massive $24M winning lotto ticket in New York just two days before the deadline on May 25, 2017.: 170524-cbs-new-york-lotto-jackpot-search-01.jpg © CBS New York 170524-cbs-new-york-lotto-jackpot-search-01.jpg

NEW YORK -- Talk about cutting it close.

A winning $24 million (NZ$34 million) Lotto ticket was purchased on May 25, 2016 at Renu Corp Grocery & Tobacco in Manhattan and had gone unclaimed until now, the New York Lottery said.

The mysterious missing millionaire saw the news coverage, checked his or her ticket and showed up to claim the prize on Tuesday, two days before it was set to expire, CBS New York reports.

"It doesn't happen often that we put out a press release at the last minute and a winner comes forward," she added."First time I sell a big one," the store's owner.

"We are thrilled that this lucky winner was able to locate this life-changing ticket," said Gweneth Dean, the Lottery Director of the New York Gaming Comission. "We look forward to introducing this multimillionaire who came forward in the nick of time."

So why did the winner wait?

"I think it was on purpose, I really do. They just want to wait it out, make sure everything -- maybe their debt is clear," one woman suggested.

"I don't think they needed it," another said. "They're going through, dusting off the table, 'Oh look at this honey. Oh we won, let's go collect.'"

In 2002, a Mega Millions winner missed out on a $63 million jackpot after failing to come forward in time, CBS New York reported. That was the largest missed opportunity in recent history. As for the store's owner who sold the winning ticket, he won't be getting a bonus unless the winner is feeling generous.

The winner who came forward Tuesday will be formally announced in the "near future."

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