A thief claimed a €125,000 lottery prize from a ticket in a stolen handbag and bought a house with his surprise windfall.
The 52-year-old man went into a restaurant in the Alicante Province town of Novelda on December 19.
He pinched a female customer’s handbag that was hanging over her chair.
Security camera footage from the premises showed him covering over the bag with a jacket and pretending to be on the phone.
The handbag contents included €950 in cash but also a ticket for the annual El Gordo lottery.
Much to the thief’s joy, it proved to be a winner in the annual draw three days later.
The prize was €125,000 and he fraudulently claimed it for himself.
He then used the proceeds to buy a house in Alzira.
Painstaking work by the Guardia Civil to identify the culprit took over five months, but he was arrested at his new property on May 31.
Despite having a criminal record for theft, a court granted him bail.