Wine Thief Makes Off With Over Half a Million Dollars’ Worth of Bottles

The bottles' next destination is unknown

Wine bottles
Some wine thieves go above and beyond — literally.
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There’s no subcategory of crime quite like booze crime. It can take many forms — selling counterfeit bottles is, for obvious reasons, a popular one, as are Ponzi schemes. Earlier this year brought the news that a storied wine shop in New York City was in hot water after it was revealed that the store owed customers roughly a million dollars. (More recently, the FBI raided the shop in question, Sherry-Lehmann Wine and Spirits.)

And then there’s the case of an as-yet-unnamed wine thief who broke into Venice, California’s Lincoln Fine Wines by drilling into the shop’s wine cellar from above — and made off with $600,000 worth of bottles.

The Los Angeles Times has more details on the theft, including the total time it took to accomplish things (three and a half hours) and how the thief avoided the alarms (entering the space from above). As the Times reports, 75 of the bottles were valued at over $1,000 apiece.

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The counterfeit whisky also sounds disgusting

What’s less clear is how many accomplices the wine thief had. Police told the Times that at least one other person was taking bottles from the thief, with up to two other people also potentially involved. The account of the robbery also describes the wine thief as “occasionally raising [his phone] to his ear” — which suggests that someone else might have been providing instructions on what to take.

The experts the Times spoke with offered differing opinions on where the stolen bottles might go, with some arguing that they might be headed overseas and others positing that they could be re-sold without much evidence of their illicit history. The last word in the story of this heist hasn’t been written yet — and it’ll be interesting to see what it ends up being.


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