Food / July 26, 2022

Couple arrested after a 9-month chase following 1.6m wine heist

Food / July 26, 2022

Couple arrested after a 9-month chase following 1.6m wine heist

A man and a woman have been arrested in Croatia for stealing forty five bottles of fine and rare wines worth €1.6 million.

The Heist

Spanish officials said the wine theft had been planned with “millimetric” detail. The couple had visited the restaurant three times to stake it out before going ahead with their plan.

The Spanish press dubbed the heist “theft of the century” last year.

According to reports, the woman checked into the hotel using a fake Swiss passport. She was subsequently joined by an English-speaking man. The couple dined in the restaurant before requesting – and being given a tour of the wine cellar.

The woman used her feminine wiles to convince an employee responsible for the security cameras to go to the kitchen and prepare her a salad. Meanwhile, it is assumed the man made his way to the wine cellar and made off with three backpacks full of wine. Must have been big backpacks to squeeze in forty-five bottles.

The cellar was heavily protected with doors that required electronic codes to gain entry. Since the doors showed no sign of forced opening, it’s believed that a master key was obtained illegitimately. Or ‘sophisticated equipment‘ was used in the heist.

The pair exited the hotel at 05:30 and left Spain a couple of days later. What followed was a nine-month chase through Europe. Where the two people have been arrested in connection with the theft in Croatia, police revealed last night.

The Wine

The man and woman pulled off the outrageous burglary of only astronomically expensive wines. The stolen merch included a bottle made in 1806. from Atrio; a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Cáceres, Spain.

The pair are thought to have stolen 38 bottles of Romanée-Conti – a wine that famously only produces 3,500 bottles per year – and seven bottles of Château d’Yquem; one of which was the hugely valuable 1806.

Château d’Yquem is one of the world’s most celebrated wineries. And 1805, a ridiculously old vintage from. For context, in 2011, a bottle of Château d’Yquem 1811 sold for a white-wine record of a hundred and seventeen thousand dollars. That’s the equivalent of two Alfa Romeos or a down payment for a half-million euro home. 

The 1805 is thought to be worth north of three hundred k. That said, it would be impossible to sell on the legit secondary market without getting caught.

The Theory

It is believed that the couple are professional thieves with a wine background. The hotel’s owner said, “They were professionals; they knew exactly what they were doing,” in a Times article.

Polo also said to Wine Spectator he believed the bottles were specifically targeted, because they were spread out in different areas of the cellar. “What I think is that [the theft] was ordered by a private collector.”

We think the movie writes itself.

Elsewhere on CHAR: How to Upgrade to BBQ Level Expert