Powerball jackpot puts Fountain Hills store in spotlight

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

FOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz. --  It was another quiet Thursday morning in Fountain Hills until everyone heard about 4 Sons Food Store inside the local Chevron gas station, and it's one winning Powerball ticket.

"My boss called me on the phone and he asked if I heard anything yet, and I hadn't, and he said 'Well, your store sold the winner!'" said Bob Chebat, the store manager, who might have sold the winning ticket.

"Then the phone started ringing and people started coming in saying 'You sold the winner, you sold the winner!' And it's been bedlam ever since," he said.

A crush of cameras piled into the store, anxious to capture the very counter and the exact machine that sold the perfect numbers. Even the regulars came in for a look.

"I work over at Mid First Bank and we saw all the excitement and I wanted to see who won," said Susan Barksdale, who works nearby.

At first, we thought she might have some inside information,but she's just like the rest of us.

"Um, you know, what I don't know who it could be," Barksdale said.

What we do know is someone bought a $10 Quick Pick ticket with the winning numbers in the 36 hours before the deadline. The store owner says the odds are good they live in town.

"It's a very local store. I'd say 90 to 95 percent of the people who come in are locals," said Eric Seitz.

Thursday afternoon, those locals are bemoaning their luck. They were so close.

"I thought 'Oh, let me run in to 4 Sons and get my ticket.' And I didn't, so I'm disappointed!" said Barksdale.

So now, in a town where there aren't many strangers, they're looking for the overnight millionaire among them.

"I think it's awesome. I think it's great for Fountain Hills," Barksdale said.

The last Arizonan to win a Powerball Jackpot did it in September of 2010.

As for the new winner, they could decide to claim the prize without a big press event but their name will eventually be out as a matter of public record.

Until then the rumor mill is working overtime, and we'll have to wait and see.

The individual with the winning ticket is asked to call the lottery office at 480-921-4472.