Centurion man was sitting at his local pub when he decided to check the lotto ticket from the night before which was still in his wallet. Drinking his beer he checked his numbers against the previous nights draw and discovered that he had landed 5 out of the 6 numbers on his ticket, just missing the Powerball match.
The total SA Powerball prize tier with his 5 number match was a cool R496,140.70.
Ecstatic with the win, he begins to show a number of acquaintances and patrons at the pub his winning ticket, they congratulated him and carried on with their evening. On the phone, he was overheard telling his friends and family of the big win and that he will be able to pay off his car and bank the rest for a “nice long holiday”.
Back at home that evening he opened his wallet only to discover that the ticket no longer contained the same winning combination which that he had seen earlier.
At some point in the evening at the pub, the ticket must have been switched from a ticket with 5 lucky numbers to a ticket with no matches and a completely worthless piece of paper.
A charge of theft was subsequently laid at the Wierdabrag Police Station and a docket was opened detailing his entire story.
Security camera footage of the patrons at the pub that evening proved to be of little use as it was focused more on the bartender and difficult to identify individuals in the gloomy pub let alone what people were actually holding, tickets, cash, bank cards, till slips and napkins all looked the same.
The acquaintances at the pub he only knew on a first name basis and nobody well enough to be called upon to help with the investigation.
The official operator of the South African National Lottery, says that all winning tickets have a life span of 365 days before they expire and all winners of big lotto prizes can choose to go public or stay anonymous.
Provided you meet the criteria (being over 18 with a valid SA ID book) if you are holding a winning lotto ticket you get paid out. Wins over R50 000.00 or more require that you simply complete an official Prize Claim Form and that’s it.
Officials from The National Lottery Operator, ITHUBA simply state
“our job is to honour winning ticket holders with due payment and anything outside of this are matters for police services.”
“We won’t get involved at these things, it’s one person’s word against another, if we are asked by police services to aid a criminal investigation, we will comply”
“You must understand that lotto winners anonymity is to safeguard them and if winners choose to remain anonymous, then they stay anonymous, it is their right.”
“No police request of this nature however has been forthcoming.”
The case was eventually closed due to a lack of leads or evidence and one lucky lotto winner walked away learning a hard life lesson about never letting a lotto ticket out of sight.