ON December 19 last year, while Remedios Garcia was lunching with two friends in Novelda her handbag was stolen.
It contained €950 in cash, her car keys, credit cards, ID and a ticket for the national lottery on December 22, the biggest of the year.
“I hadn’t even noticed that the bag had gone until I went to get my mobile to take a photo with my friends,” Remedios told the Spanish media.
“I freaked out and started crying, thinking about everything that had been taken.”
She reported the theft to the Guardia Civil, listing everything in her bag, including the lottery ticket whose number – 6095 – she knew as she’d been buying it for the last 10 years.
Worse was to come three days after the theft when the number came up in the Christmas Lottery. Remedios should have won €125,000 but instead it went to the thief.
With only the restaurant’s blurry CCTV images to work with, the Guardia Civil eventually traced the thief, a 52-year-old Peruvian with an extensive police record to Alzira (Valencia).
He living in an apartment that he allegedly bought with the lottery winnings that by rights belonged to Remedios but although charged, he has now been released and awaits trial.