Police patrol closely during Powerball hype

Posted at 11:30 PM, Jan 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-13 23:33:57-05

A lot of people are praying they will wake up billionaires with the 1.5 record-breaking Powerball jackpot drawing Wednesday night.

The excitement was contagious. Stores were packed with customers buying last minute tickets all day.

"I'd say in the last five hours it's been line after line," said gas station clerk Lisa Bennett in Port St. Lucie.

With so much cash exchanging hands, the Port St. Lucie Police Department is conducting close patrols on all business selling Powerball tickets Wednesday night.

"Right now, as I'm driving through, I'm looking at the patterns of the public," said Officer Albert Sohl. "With criminals, we look for lingering in and around the businesses, in the parking lot, around the vehicles."

Just about a half hour before ticket sales closed for Saturday's drawing a Port St. Lucie gas station was robbed. For Wednesday,'s drawing, officers are showing their presence to prevent any potential repeat offenders.

"Any extra people out there is actually helps me out," said Bennett.

Bennett says the police presence makes her feel safer, but she also is aware of her own safety.

"I make sure I keep an eye on my parking lot. Make sure I don't have people lurking around. Keep an eye on my bathrooms. My back area."

Officers suggest that clerks make regular cash deposits so there is not too much cash around. For customers, try to avoid distractions and stay alert.

Port St. Lucie Police have started an initiative called P.A.C. or Partners Against Crime to keep local businesses and community members informed of the criminal activity happening in their area.