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Thief steals handbag with winning €125,000 lottery ticket inside

Jun 14, 2021, 12:45 pm

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El Gordo

Caught after making a big purchase

By Kate Northrop

A thief who stole a purse with a winning lottery ticket worth €125,000 (US$152,000) inside has finally been caught after he used the money to buy a house.

On May 31, the Guardia Civil, law enforcement in Spain, arrested an unnamed 52-year-old man at the house he bought in Valencia with the winnings he stole.

The theft took place on Dec. 19, 2020. Video surveillance footage in a restaurant shows the man walking past a woman seated at a table and swiping her handbag hanging on the back of her chair while pretending to talk on the phone. He then hides the purse underneath a jacket and walks away.

Much to the crook's delight, the bag contained a significant €905 (US$1,152) in cash and a lottery ticket for the then-upcoming El Gordo drawing, the most well-known, largest raffle in history, measured by prize payout.

Just three days later on Dec. 22, 2021, the annual drawing took place. The ticket in the thief's possession ended up winning the second prize worth €125,000, which the man fraudulently claimed and used to buy himself a house in Alzira, a city in the province of Valencia in eastern Spain.

On the evening the victim's bag was stolen, she contacted the police, but the gravity of the crime truly sunk in when the annual drawing took place and it was revealed just how much money was sitting in that purse. On the day of the drawing, she extended the complaint with local authorities.

It took five grueling months, but law enforcement finally caught and arrested the man at the house he bought using the winnings from the stolen ticket. According to EuroWeeklyNews, he has a long history of theft and was granted bail by a Court of Instance and Instruction in Alzira. He has since been released with charges.

Thanks to BobP for the tip.

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