THE BRONX - Authorities are searching for a thief they say stole thousands of dollars in scratch-off instant lottery tickets in the Bronx and across the city.

The suspect has allegedly robbed 15 convenience stores overall and six in the Bronx. Police say the man normally asks store clerks for a large amount of tickets, distracts them by asking for another store item and then switches the new scratch-off tickets with ones that were already used.

Police say the man then claims he forgot his money and exits the store with the stolen tickets.

Anyone with information about the thefts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.