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The Boston Globe

Metro

Costco coworkers split $50m Powerball jackpot

BRAINTREE — The two co-workers had a ritual for the past 10 months. She would buy two Powerball tickets, write their names on the back, and then give him a copy.

It may have seemed a modest indulgence. The longest of long shots.

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But on Wednesday night, it paid off big-time — with more than $11 million for each of them.

Rosa DeLeon, 52, of Arlington, and Reginald LeBlanc, 54, of Lexington, who work at the Costco in Waltham, bought a $50 million Powerball ticket at a gas station in Lexington.

The two, who appeared at a news conference at state lottery headquarters Thursday afternoon, opted for the $33 million lump sum payment option. After taxes are deducted, the prize comes to $23.1 million. And, true to their agreement, they plan to split it.

Both said that they were still coming to grips with the shock of winning. “I couldn’t believe it,” LeBlanc said of his reaction. “I can’t believe that the six numbers came out that was on the ticket.”

LeBlanc, who was missing several front teeth, said he would use the money to get some dental work.

“I definitely need a lot of teeth work. That’s one of my first things to get fixed,” he said.

He said it would mean “everything” to get them fixed.

DeLeon said she initiated a Powerball pool at work whenever there were huge jackpots. But then, she said, she and ­LeBlanc connected over personal stories and decided they would play Powerball together twice a week.

“He told me his stories and with my stories, and I figured the good Lord just brought us together,” she said. “I said, ‘We’re going to continue playing, just the two of us.’ ”

The routine was always the same — one quick-pick and one set of numbers that DeLeon inherited from her father.

The two were both working Thursday morning when ­LeBlanc saw the winning numbers on the television in the break room.

Asked if they were going to quit their jobs, both DeLeon and LeBlanc said Costco was a great company and they hadn’t decided yet whether to quit. They also said they would continue to shop at Costco, despite their millions.

“My family can’t believe it. Just like I can’t. And people told Reggie and I it couldn’t happen to better people,” said DeLeon, who is married and has five children ranging from 11 to mid 30s.

The winning ticket had the numbers 8-10-25-36-44, and a Powerball of 28. The ticket was sold at Lexington Shell on Waltham Street, and the lucky numbers were pulled on 12/12/12.

Store manager Adam Muise said Thursday morning that a man claiming to be the Powerball winner had walked into the store but kept to himself.

“He really didn’t say anything, just stood off to the side,” Muise said. “He was really calm.”

Martin Finucane and Melissa M. Werthmann contributed to this story. Katheleen Conti can be reached at kconti @globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKConti.
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