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Teenager Shoplifts Winning Lottery Ticket


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Teenager Shoplifts Winning Lottery Ticket

By MATTIAS KAREN

Associated Press Writer

August 31, 2004, 3:40 PM EDT

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- A Swedish teenager who shoplifted a winning lottery ticket that could be worth as much as $1 million has discovered the truth in that old adage 'crime doesn't pay'.

The 15-year-old boy stole the scrape-off lottery ticket from a grocery store outside the northeastern Swedish town of Oernskoeldsvik last week, local media reported Tuesday.

When he went home and scraped the ticket, he discovered it contained a winning combination worth as much as $1 million.

Store manager Patrik Nygren, however, recognized the teenager from surveillance tapes that caught him stealing the ticket and went to his home to reclaim it.

The boy handed the winning ticket over and Nygren gave it to police after reporting the theft, the newspaper Oernsoeldsviks Allehanda said.

Nygren could not be reached for comment. But he told Oernskoeldsvik Allehanda he would contact a lawyer to see if he could claim the winning ticket for himself.

However, state-owned Svenska Spel, which runs government lotteries in Sweden, said neither the boy nor Nygren will get the payoff.

"Legally, we own the ticket until someone buys it, scrapes it and wins," Svenska Spel's spokesman Claes Tellman said Tuesday. "In this case, that hasn't happened."

The winning lottery ticket, which cost $3.30, contained three clover symbols, which means the buyer would get to participate in another scrape-off broadcast on national TV every weekend.

The winner is guaranteed a payoff of at least $1,330 a month for 10 years, but could receive as much as $3,330 a month for 25 years.

The odds of getting a ticket with the three clovers is about one in 3 million, Tellman said.

"This is an incredible case," Tellman said. "The probability of him stealing that ticket is extremely low."

Police would not release the boy's name due to his age, and it was not immediately clear whether he would face charges.

Copyright © 2004, The Associated Press

newsday.com

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