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Article updated: 2/28/2013 8:33 AM

Streamwood salesman wins $1 million in lottery

By Jessica Cilella

A Streamwood salesman was awarded with a $1 million check Wednesday at the gas station where he bought his winning Illinois Lottery ticket earlier this month.

Larry Szpajer decided to try a different route Feb. 6 while making his usual metal distribution sales calls. While driving through Lake Villa, he stopped to buy a Powerball ticket at the Citgo at 400 E. Grand Ave.

"I had already played my own numbers for that night, but the jackpot was really high -- $217 million -- so I decided to buy a $2 Quick Pick," he said in a statement.

The first five numbers of that Quick Pick ticket matched the drawing. Szpajer said he looked up the winning numbers on the Illinois Lottery website that night with his wife, Grace, and stared at the computer screen in disbelief until 1 a.m.

The couple plans to pay off debt, invest for retirement and travel with the $700,000 they will receive after the required state and federal withholding.

"We've always wanted to go to Australia," Grace said.

The Citgo store received a $100,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

Szpajer advised other lottery players to be cautious and smart with their money, but to play.

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