Spanish Police Pursue Michelin Wine Thieves Across Europe

An international police operation has led to the arrest of a former Mexican beauty queen and her Dutch-Romanian boyfriend in Croatia for allegedly stealing over €1.6 million worth of wine from a Spanish restaurant in October 2021.

The couple made international headlines after 45 bottles of wine worth €1.6 million were stolen from the two-Michelin-starred Atrio Restaurant & Hotel in Caceres, in the autonomous community of Estremedura.

The thieves, who reportedly booked into the hotel under a fake identity before dining at the restaurant, clearly knew what they were after.

The restaurant describes their cellar as one which “every connoisseur dreams of “and which boasts some of the greatest labels in the world including an 1806 Chateau d’Yquem which was priced by the restaurant at over 310,000 Euros and among the 45 bottles stolen by the couple.

The vintage bottle is decribed by the restaurant as one of many of the great wines that “sleep quietly on the wooden shelves of the wine cellar.”

According to the restaurants website, among their collectors dream includes 23 years of Petrus, the oldest from the year 1947, 25 of Haut-Brion, 24 of Lafite-Rothschild, with the 1929 vintage the oldest, 27 years of Latour, 23 of Margaux, 42 of Mouton-Rothschild.”with the paintings of the greatest artist decorating their bottles.

The operation was led by the Spanish National Police who detailed in a statement how the “meticulously planned” theft unfolded.

After dining, the couple apparently took a tour of the wine cellar, then returned to their room before the man re-entered the cellar while the woman distracted staff by asking for room service after the kitchen had closed.

“After using a previously purloined master key to gain access, he emerged with three large rucksacks — one on his back and two in each hand — which held the bottles he had stashed, and which were stuffed with hotel towels to protect the bottles.”

The couple reportedly left the hotel early the next morning, at 5:30 a.m., and left Spain a few days later. “Following numerous inquiries, in both Spain and other countries, officers managed to identify the two suspects, noting the high degree of professionalism, specialization and perfect planning that had gone into the theft,” the police statement continued. “They also discovered the couple had visited the restaurant three times to scout the location before they carried out the theft.”

The pair were finally apprehended in Croatia after being spotted crossing into the country from Montenegro, and the suspects were arrested thanks to a continent-wide operation that included Interpol and Europol.

The investigation is ongoing.



Share The Madrid Metropolitan: The only Madrid English language newspaper