CARBONDALE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Police are charging a former Carbondale councilman for stealing more than $163,000 in lottery tickets from employers.

According to the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office, owners of the Mr. B’s Tabacoo Shop LLC reported a theft of PA Lottery scratch-off tickets from their store.

Investigators said the owners noticed lottery tickets missing in December of 2021 after taking note that there was a large deficit in the account balance after lottery reimbursement.

The owners said to police that they discussed this issue with their employee, Joseph J. McDonald, 37, of Carbondale, who said it was probably a mistake made by the PA Lottery and not a mistake made at the store.

As stated in the affidavit, in the surveillance video provided by the owners, McDonald’s was clearly seen activating packs of lottery tickets, scratching full packs of tickets and entering the winning tickets into the system on the register, and taking money for the winning tickets placing it in his pocket.

Once in police custody, McDonald admitted to stealing 188 packs of lottery tickets from his employers to feed his gambling addiction. Police said the theft amount is equal to $163,261.

McDonald turned himself in to authorities and was released Monday on $25,000 unsecured bail.