After the media frenzy that ensued after Mavis Wanczyk won the $758.7 million Powerball prize, police have decided to offer extra patrols around her home. Wanczyk, who was a hospital worker from the western Massachusetts town Chicopee, was announced about two weeks ago as the winner of the biggest undivided lottery jackpot in U.S. history.
The spokesman for Chicopee police, Officer Michael Wilk, said, “This is a great thing […] we want her to know we’re there if she needs us.” According to Wilk, officers have been told to keep an extra eye out. They even have cops parked in her driveway.
This is done to discourage members of the media and other people from entering the neighborhood and harassing her. In addition, officers have spoken to the other neighbors on the street to tell them that if they see anything or anyone suspicious lurking about to call the police immediately.
Although it appears that reporters have been respectful in general, Wilk says the same is not true of everyone else in the area.
There have been reports from neighbors that claim that they’ve seen others hanging about the area, looking for Wanczyk.
Wilk stated, “Besides media, there have been people knocking on doors, asking people where she lives. We’re not going to tolerate her being harassed or bothered.”
According to Wilk, one neighbor who was approached and asked about Wanczyk’s whereabouts responded with “she is not around.”
After learning that she has won the Powerball jackpot, Wanczyk quit her job at the hospital. Lottery officials have revealed that she chose to take the lump sum payment amount of $480 millions dollars ($336 million after tax), rather than have it paid to her in installments.
Wanczyk has a daughter and son who are both adults. They accompanied her on Thursday to claim her winnings along with some of her other family members.
When asked about the moment before she found out that she had won, she recounts talking to her co-worker about the jackpot and all the while thinking, ‘It’s never going to be me, it’s just a pipe dream I’ve always had.’
She said that he began reading the winning numbers and so she pulled her ticket out and said, “Hey, I have that…” He asked to see her ticket and after a moment said to her, “you just won.” Wanczyk said, “I couldn’t do anything so he followed me to make sure I made it home safely […] that’s how I found out, from him.”