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WDAY: The News Leader

Published October 19, 2011, 10:24 PM

Moorhead man claims $200K Powerball prize 6 weeks later

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - It's a dream most of us have had; winning the lottery. Oh how life would change. One Moorhead man is living that reality after hitting the jackpot with Powerball. But the surprise prize came as a shock.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

It's a dream most of us have had; winning the lottery. Oh how life would change. One Moorhead man is living that reality after hitting the jackpot with Powerball. But the surprise prize came as a shock.

Austin Linder calls himself careless. He did what many of us have - Stuck a lottery ticket away and forgot about it. The only difference, ours wasn't worth $200,000.

Ron Schaefer – Holiday Store Manager: “Totally, totally off guard. I mean ecstatic. Seriously.”

You can hear just how happy Ron Schaefer is after we told him about the wonderful win.

Ron Schaefer: “That is unreal.”

He's not even the winner. Schaefer manages this small store where the winning ticket was bought.

Ron Schaefer: “We've had winners of $2000, $5000, $26,000 but $200,000, that's ballistic. That's fabulous.”

Austin Linder bought a ticket September 17th, and then tucked it away in his wallet for weeks. Thankfully, that ticket was still there a month later. When he finally checked, sure enough, all the numbers matched, but the Powerball.

Debbie Hoffmann – Minnesota State Lottery Spokesperson: “We're always thrilled when these players come forward because it is their money and we do want them to come forward and claim the prize so we can pay them.

It’s a rare occurrence. Seldom do gamblers claim prizes after a week; they forget, they lose the ticket. But maybe it's not even the customer that's lucky. Could it be this Holiday on 11th Street North in Moorhead?

Ron Schaefer: “A lot of winnings. Over two million dollars is won out of this little place.”

And after this latest luck, that amount keeps going up and up and up..

Ron Schaefer: “Yeah it is. Now we're over $2.5 million.”

Get your tickets out. Since 1992, when Powerball in Minnesota started, 60 of 784 match five tickets have gone unclaimed. You have one year to claim. There are two $40,000 winners out there who have yet to claim their prizes this year. In North Dakota, you have 180 days to claim. Since March 2004, when the state started lottery, nearly $2,404.000 has gone unclaimed. Most of that goes back into the general fund. There are two $22,000 2 by 2 winners out there who can still claim their money. We reached out to Austin Linder to no avail.

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