Imagine an older lady in Naples, Italy, playing a "scratch and win" card and believing she had won. She goes to the shop with elated expectation where she purchased it to present it to the kindly tobacco shop owner for verification. Well, he verified it alright. The not-so-kindly shop owner hopped on his motor scooter with the winning ticket leaving the woman questioning the decency of her fellow citizen and out the 500,000 euros ($580,000) she would have won.
The good news is the unidentified ticket thief was detained at Rome's main airport by border police as he was attempting to fly off to Fuerteventura, a Spanish Canary Island. The bad news is the nicked game card was not in his possession and its whereabouts is still unknown.
The older woman had purchased two "scratch and win" cards. She asked a shop employee to verify the win. The employee then passed the card to one of the shop's owners for a final check, Italian news reports said. But instead he allegedly kept the card and raced off on his motor scooter through Naples.
He is now free on his own recognizance, LaPresse said.
To thwart anyone from illegally cashing in, authorities at the Italian tax office which runs the "scratch and win" operation froze the entire block of card numbers that had been distributed to the tobacco shop.
The tobacco shop owner could do the right thing and let authorities know where the card is so that the lady could cash in on what is hers, but I imagine she is not holding her breath on that one.