Nick Bitondo (Jimmy Panagiotides, right) Wins Cash5 Top Prize
It's No Joke; Norwalk Man Wins $100,000
March 14, 2011 --
Anytime Nick Bitondo of Norwalk, and his lifetime friend Jimmy Panagiotides get together, Nick is quick to joke that he has a big CT Lottery winning ticket in his hand. Jimmy, who works at his family’s convenience store, Hills Confectionery, located on Stevens Street in Norwalk, has seen Nick pull this gag time after time, and it’s always good for a laugh. But, this time, the joke was completely on Nick when he scanned his Cash5
“Quick Pick” in the lottery “Ticket Checker” and discovered the March 7, 2011 draw ticket in his hand was in fact a $100,000 top prize winner.
“All I saw was ‘Congratulations’ and then all those zeros…I was stunned,” Nick told Lottery officials with a laugh. “Nick is always saying that he has a big winner whenever he comes in the store, but I could tell by his face, this time it was real,” said Jimmy.
The winning Cash5 numbers drawn on March 7 were 5 - 6 - 18 - 24 – 35. In addition to Nick’s top prize winning ticket, there were 4,101 winning tickets sold statewide whose values ranged from $2 to $4,650 each.
Days later, the two friends arrived at CT Lottery headquarters in Rocky Hill where Nick claimed his check for $68,500 (the prize value after taxes). “I’m thinking I would like to put the money toward buying a house,” Nick told lottery officials.
Jimmy’s family store is in for a nice surprise, too. Since it was Hills Confectionery who sold Nick his top prize winning ticket, they will receive a $1,000 selling bonus from the CT Lottery for doing so.