A tobacco shop owner from Naples who stole a winning lottery ticket worth EUR 500,000 (GBP 428,000) from a 70-year-old woman was caught at an airport in Rome before he was able to escape the country with his victim’s winnings.
The man identified only by his initials G.S., aged 57, who owns a tobacconist in the Materdei district in the city of Naples was arrested at the Fiumicino airport in Rome, Italy, on Saturday (4th September).
According to the local news outlet GDS, the 70-year-old woman, who couldn’t believe her luck, visited the Tobacco shop to confirm that her ticket was a winner.
The lucky winner handed the scratch card to an employee at the tobacco shop who then passed it onto his boss for a second opinion.
Upon realizing that he was holding half a million Euros in his hand G.S. allegedly sprinted out of the shop and disappeared down the street on his scooter.
The woman quickly alerted the police who began looking for the shop owner and alerted all airports in the country that the suspect may attempt to flee with the stolen winnings.
The 57-year-old was arrested whilst attempting to flee to Fuerteventura, the second-largest island of the Canary Islands in Spain from the Fiumicino airport in Rome 197 kilometres (123 miles) from where he allegedly stole the ticket.
The border guards refused to let him pass and the police arrested him before he was able to make it to a sunny Spanish beach to spend his unearned winnings.
The cops didn’t find the winning lottery ticket in the man’s possession and as a result, he has not been changed but he is the main suspect in the case which is now set to continue as the cops try to retrieve the ticket.
The validity of the ticket has temporarily been suspended by authorities meaning it currently can’t be redeemed.
The Tobacco shop owner could also have his license revoked in the future by the Customs and Monopolies Agency if found guilty of the theft.