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Gas Station Employee Accused of Lottery Ticket Theft

Jacob Daniel Russ, of Palmer Township, has been charged with taking $600 in lottery tickets from the Bethlehem Township Hess Express where he works.

A 19-year-old employee of a Bethlehem Township gas station/convenience store has been charged with taking $600 in lottery tickets and $185 in cash from his employer.

The alleged actions of Jacob Daniel Russ, of the 3200 block of Freemansburg Avenue, Palmer Township, were captured on surveillance video, court records say.

The manager of the Hess Express at 3283 Easton Ave. told police the video shows Russ, a cashier at the store, removing the money from a “tac safe” around 9:40am Dec. 29.

The “tac safe” stores a small amount of cash and coins under the cash registers in case cashiers need them, according to a criminal complaint filed by Bethlehem Township Patrolman Shaun Powell.

The manager, who met with Powell on Friday, Jan. 4, said additional video shows Russ removing the lottery tickets from the automated scratch-off dispensing machine around 11:55 the same morning. He said Russ opened the machine and removed tickets from the ends of the stacks.

In all, the manager said, Russ took 30 of the $20 scratch-off tickets. He said cashiers have no reason to access the machine during a shift.

An arrest warrant for Russ was issued Friday. He was taken into custody Wednesday, when he was arraigned by District Judge Jackie Taschner of Palmer Township on a charge of theft by unlawful taking or disposition.

He was released on $2,500 unsecured bail.

Online court records show that Russ was accepted into the ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition) program for first-time offenders last year on charges that included possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use, use/possession of drug paraphernalia and operating a vehicle without valid inspection.

Those charges are connected to alleged actions on Dec. 22, 2011 in Hellertown, the online records say.

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