Thief Steals Handbag With Lottery Ticket Inside, Wins $150,000

A man has been arrested after he allegedly bought a house with money he won from a lottery ticket found inside a handbag that he stole.

On May 31, members of the Guardia Civil, the local police department, arrested an unnamed 52-year-old man in Valencia, Spain, for allegedly stealing on December 19, 2020, a handbag that contained a winning lottery ticket, reported The Olive Press on Wednesday.

The man has been accused of stealing the handbag from a restaurant in the town of Novelda, south of Valencia. He allegedly took it from the woman when it was hanging on the back of the victim's chair.

Security camera footage obtained by The Olive Press showed a man seemingly pretending to be talking on his cellphone as he walked past the woman, before then covering the stolen bag with his jacket and leaving the restaurant.

According to The Olive Press, the bag contained €950 ($1,155) in cash and a ticket for the special Christmas draw of the El Gordo Lottery.

When the annual draw took place three days later on December 22, 2020, the ticket won the second-placed prize, worth €125,000 ($152,006).

The man is alleged to have then fraudulently claimed the money for himself and used the proceeds to buy a house in Alzira, a town in Valencia.

EuroWeeklyNews reported that the victim initially only informed the police of the theft of the handbag on the evening that it was stolen, but extended the complaint on the day of the draw when she realized the extent of the crime.

The man was arrested at the house he has been accused of having bought thanks to the stolen lottery ticket and has since been released from custody with charges, according to EuroWeeklyNews, which also reported he has a long history of theft.

Newsweek has contacted the Guardia Civil for comment.

In the Polish town of Ilawa last week, a man was arrested after he allegedly stole 591 scratch cards from a store in the hope of collecting the winnings.

The 22-year-old suspect has been accused of stealing tickets worth a total of 2500 Polish zlotys (around $680).

"Despite scratching 591 coupons, [he] did not win anything," the local police said in a statement. "Now he will explain his behavior to the court."

The unnamed suspect admitted to the theft and could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison.

Man bought house with stolen lottery ticket
Lottery balls isolated on orange background. A man has been arrested after he allegedly bought a house with money he won from a stolen lottery ticket. Talaj/iStock / Getty Images Plus