updated 5/30/2006 7:31:01 AM ET 2006-05-30T11:31:01

An Army sergeant and his girlfriend found a winning lottery ticket at a convenience store Monday and turned it in to police, who were able to find its owner — a $2,500 winner with no idea her lucky ticket was missing.

Sgt. Edward Boniberger and Marnie Hall found the ticket at a 7-Eleven store, Suffolk County police said. They couldn't find the woman who had signed it, so they took it to a police station.

Detectives then located Mary Ann Doerrbecker, who hadn't realized she had dropped the ticket, said Detective Sgt. Thomas Groneman.

"She was shocked," Groneman said. Doerrbecker met the couple at the precinct office and offered them a reward, which they declined.

Boniberger said he told Doerrbecker she should donate something to charity instead.

"There's people out there who need it a lot more than I do," he said.

Boniberger was stationed with the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry, in Baghdad and returned to the U.S. in September 2005.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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