French police recover $6 million in stolen wine from alleged gang-run operation: report12/15/2020
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French police spoiled a sophisticated wine theft operation that cost restaurateurs and merchants millions of dollars.
On Tuesday, law enforcement recovered 900 bottles of wine, which were valued at around $6 million, according to public radio station France Info.
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The bottles were reportedly stolen from upscale establishments in certain departments of France, including Dordogne, Gironde and Loire.
An unspecified number of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti cases were recovered by police. The famous vineyard produces some of the most expensive bottles of wine in the world. Sellers on Wine-Searcher.com have listed a single 750-milliliter bottle for $11,000 or more.
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Other prestigious French wine brands included in the heist were Château Margaux, Château Pétrus and Château d'Yquem – all of which have single bottles of wine that are valued at hundreds or thousands of dollars, according to online listings.
French police recovered 900 bottles of high-end wine that cost restaurateurs and merchants around $6 million. (iStock)
Twenty-five people were arrested in connection to the wine theft operation. France Info reports that the thefts were “orchestrated by an ultra organized gang.”
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"These are professionals who knew how to thwart security measures," said Patrick Léonard, the interregional director of the judicial police in Bordeaux (Gironde), according to the national news outlet.
The gang was allegedly led by a 55-year-old man who previously worked in the wine trade, a recent report from The Drinks Business – a U.K.-based B2B magazine and news outlet published by the Union Press.
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Targets of the elaborate wine theft scheme are said to include celebrity chef Georges Blanc’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Vonnas and several high-end eateries, shops and warehouses throughout Aquitaine and Paris.
It’s not the first time thieves have tried to turn a profit on stolen French wine.
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Last year, around 150 bottles of wine were stolen from Maison Rostang, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris. The haul was estimated to cost the restaurant $677,000.
Similarly, in 2015, French Laundry’s Napa Valley-based restaurant was robbed of $500,000 worth of top-shelf wine, which eventually resulted in the indictment of two men, according to the Napa Valley Register.
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