Tobacconist stopped at Rome airport after allegedly running off with Naples customers winning scratchcard

A tobacco shop owner suspected of running off with a customer’s winning scratchcard was stopped from boarding a flight to the Canary Islands, Italian media have said.

Border police at Rome‘s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino international airport prevented the Naples shop owner from getting on the plane to Fuerteventura, after he allegedly went on the run.

The man didn’t have the game card – which would have been worth €500,000 (£428,000) – on him, but he did have a plane ticket, the LaPresse news agency said.

The investigation began after the customer who purchased the winning card asked the shop in a working-class part of Naples to confirm her win, which was the top prize.

She had bought two “scratch and win” cards and passed the winning one to a shop employee who then handed it on to one of the shop’s owners for a final check, Italian news reports said.

But, instead, he is said to have kept the card and raced off on his scooter through the southern Italian city.

A European arrest warrant was issued and to prevent anyone from trying to cash in the scratch card, Italian authorities froze the entire block of card numbers that had been distributed to the tobacco shop.

The man is understood to be not under arrest as the scratchcard has not been found but it remains under investigation.

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