Cops: Scratch-off tickets loser makes 'sexually explicit' threats to Pa. Lottery HQ
A woman who repeatedly aired her frustration at failing to win a jackpot by making obscene and violent threats against Pennsylvania Lottery headquarters faces 53 charges, police said Wednesday.
Towanda Shields, 47, made dozens of calls over the past eight months to the agency's offices outside Harrisburg, police in Lower Swatara Township said.
"From the calls and stuff I've listened to, she's basically completely obsessed with the lottery and the fact that she doesn't win upsets her very much," Detective Robert Appleby told the Associated Press. "She would get really sexually explicit with her insults."
Appleby said that in late October, Shields said someone would die at the retail store where she buys tickets. He said she has also told lottery employees she had searched for them online, knew where they lived and had hired someone to hurt their family members.
Shields, of Philadelphia, has defended her right to make the calls on free-speech grounds, Appleby said. She does not appear to have a listed phone number.
"She basically taunted me the one time when I spoke to her as well — 'I switch phones. Y'all will never figure out where I am,'" Appleby said.
Although Shields has used anonymous burner phones, authorities were able to determine her identity.
"Honestly, had she not made some of the comments she made in the messages, it might have been a lot harder," he said.
Police on Tuesday filed 25 counts each of harassment and stalking, as well as three counts of making terroristic threats. She left 21 voicemails at lottery headquarters and reached people eight to 12 times, Appleby said.
"Fifty-three counts is a lot of counts, but I can assure you she's earned them," he said.
The detective said Shields' main interest is in scratch-off tickets.
At the end of some of her threatening calls, he said, she signed off with a lottery advertisement catchphrase: "Keep on scratchin'."
It's popping up all over the place.
No, we said popping not ... nevermind.
Wine, cats, coffee — what more could you ask for?
A Georgia driver hit more than a bump in the road while driving.
Elysia Morris said she was driving her red BMW through a construction zone when a truck was driving toward her without stopping.
She said she veered to the left to avoid a possible collision when her car got stuck in fresh, wet concrete.
"[The truck is] still driving towards me, still honking the horn, so I bear over to the left and my car ends up submerged in fresh, wet concrete," Morris said.
Morris was rescued safely, but her car was lodged deep into the mixture.
She said the construction company told her the concrete would cure in an hour and the tow truck that responded asked her to sign a waiver saying the county wasn't responsible for any damages before they would tow it.
She refused to sign, and they left the concrete to dry around her car, cementing it into the street.
Construction workers eventually used a jack hammer to remove the block of concrete and the car and loaded it onto a flatbed truck.
Condolences are pouring in from all over ... for a girl they never knew. But her story speaks to all of them.