Rome Border Police Stop Suspected Winning €500k Scratchcard Thief From Dramatic Airport Getaway

  • Officials stopped the suspect boarding a flight to Fuerteventura, Spain
  • The suspect did not have the $580k winning ticket when apprehended
  • The victim went to the suspect’s tobacco shop to verify her winning scratchcard
  • The suspect snatched the woman’s ticket and fled through Naples on a motor scooter
  • In New York, gunmen chased and shot a man carrying cash out of an illegal gambling den
Flight departure schedules at Rome's Fiumicino Airport
Authorities at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport (pictured) have prevented a man suspected of stealing a €500,000 scratchcard from an elderly lady in Naples from fleeing the country. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Stole scratchcard from elderly lady

Border police at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport have stopped a man suspected of fleeing Naples on a scooter with a winning €500,000 ($580,000) scratchcard he stole from an elderly lady from boarding a flight out of the country.

He did not have the winning ticket on his person when apprehended.

Authorities found the suspect in possession of an airline ticket to Fuerteventura in Spain. He did not have the winning ticket on his person when apprehended.

Italy’s Agenzia Dogane e Monopoli (ADM) shared news of the incident on Facebook on September 6.  

According to the Associated Press, an elderly woman came into a tobacco shop in the Stella quarter of Naples September 3 to verify her winning scratchcard. The as yet unidentified man, the owner of the tobacco shop, allegedly snatched her ticket and fled the scene on his motor scooter.

After the victim alerted the neighborhood Carabinieri, the military police agency sent out a territory-wide alert for the suspect, wanted for investigation of suspected theft.

Suspect free but tickets blocked

LaPresse reports that while border police prevented the suspect from boarding the flight to Spain, he is “now free on his own recognizance.”

The ADM, Italy’s Excise, Customs and Monopolies Agency, in association with the Numerici and Lotterie Games Office have, however, put measures in place to ensure no one cashes in. Authorities have frozen the collection of the entire block of card numbers distributed to the Naples tobacco shop, including the winning ticket.

Investigators are still searching for the missing $580k game card.

Another gambler targeted in the US

Also on Friday, but on US soil, was another case in which greedy individuals targeted a gambler. The New York Daily News took to Twitter on September 5 to share a link to video footage of the incident, in which a hooded gunman shot a man coming out of an illegal gambling den in Upper Manhattan with a “wad of cash in his hand.”

Initially, two men armed with guns jumped out of a black SUV and chased the victim. One suspect fired multiple rounds at the victim, a police source said. While shots hit the man in the shoulder and thigh, he escaped with his life and is in stable condition.

Friday’s shooting in New York continues the trending US-wide crime of casino-vicinity violence. Late last month, it was Pennsylvania’s turn, where a man got shot in the parking garage of Rivers Casino Pittsburgh.

The suspect who did not fire his weapon allegedly thought twice about what he was doing and ran back to the SUV. The actual shooter, meanwhile, ran off. Police have not yet apprehended either of the two male suspects and are asking the public’s assistance.