TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – In court documents filed Thursday, the Travis County Sheriff’s Office said it issued an arrest warrant for a man accused of burglarizing Travis County two businesses in December, taking several high-value lottery tickets and later cashing them.
Travis County court records showed 48-year-old Michael J. Suniga was charged Jan. 10 with two counts of burglary of a building and two counts of claiming a lottery prize by fraud. Documents said the businesses were burglarized Dec. 8 and Dec. 21.
A detective with TCSO said video footage showed both burglary incidents occur, and the TCSO detective said the suspect’s facial features were visible in one of the videos.
In both videos, the suspect, later identified as Suniga, used a hammer with a yellow handle to smash the front glass doors of businesses and force entry.
In the Dec. 8 video, the suspect, later identified as Suniga, was seen getting out of a vehicle, breaking into the business and stealing scratch-off lottery tickets from behind the counter. TCSO said Suniga was in the store for less than a minute before leaving.
The Texas Lottery Commission reported $400 worth of the stolen tickets were cashed.
In the Dec. 21 video, Suniga went behind the counter and was seen taking numerous lottery tickets from the dispensers.
“The suspect targets $100 tickets,” records said. “No other items were stolen.”
TCSO said it received a spreadsheet from the Texas Lottery Commission that showed several of the stolen lottery tickets from the Dec. 21 incident were cashed at a different business 13 minutes later—one ticket for $500 and another for $100.
The Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office said it was working on multiple burglaries with the same method of operation as the TCSO case.
“The [BCSO] investigator stated the suspect entered the stores by breaking the glass front doors using a yellow-handled hammer. The suspect stole lottery tickets as well,” TCSO said.
Suniga was identified as the suspect in the case by comparing a driver’s license photo and a recent booking photo with the burglary video from the businesses.
Suniga’s arrest warrant remained active as of Thursday, and as of Saturday, he was not booked into the Travis County jail.