(Update x2 With Reward $$$) Burglars Try to Burn Down Building to Cover Up Half-Million Dollar Wine Heist

Two odious oenophiles may soon be sipping penal noir after the pair broke into a South Seattle wine shop last week, carted off hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of wine and then tried to torch the building to cover their track.

Around 2:30 AM on November 29th, the two suspects slipped inside a wine shop in the 2700 block of 4th Ave S—which houses 450 privately-rented temperature-controlled wine storage lockers—and began painting over security cameras.

The suspects then spent the next 13 hours carting off more than 200 cases of wine—with an estimated value $648,000—from the store and storage lockers. Following the heist, the suspects cut two gas lines in the shop’s ceiling and tried to set them alight.

While the lines didn’t fully ignite, gas streamed into the shop and a neighboring vacant retail space for hours. Later in the day, a building manager came by the shop, smelled the gas leak and called 911.

After police, firefighters and gas company technicians shut off the gas and cleared the building, the wine shop’s staff discovered the break-in.

Wine shop staff reviewed security footage, captured by a camera the suspects had missed, and discovered the burglars were in fact a pair of men who’d previously rented a storage locker at the business—and had provided their names and addresses during the rental sign-up process.

On Monday evening, burglary detectives and the South Precinct Anti-Crime Team paid one suspect a visit at his South Seattle home, arrested him, and booked him into the King County Jail for burglary and attempted arson.

Detectives are now searching for the second suspect and are working to track down all that wine.

Update: The burglarized business, Esquin Wine Merchants, has released a statement (posted below) and is offering a $20,000 reward for the safe recovery of the stolen wine. If you have any information about the wine, you can contact SPD at (206) 625-5011.

On Thanksgiving evening, criminals broke into Esquin Wine Merchants and stole a large quantity of wine from our personal storage lockers. The sophistication and timing of the break-in indicates that the criminals had carefully planned their crime for some time. Thankfully, our security measures worked and we were able to collect enough evidence of the crime for the police to identify suspects, one of whom was apprehended and arraigned earlier today.

We are committed to providing our customers with the very best in wine storage, and are pleased that our security measures helped lead to the apprehension of one of the suspects.  We are cooperating fully with the police investigation and are happy about the progress being made to bring these criminals to justice.

In the interest of a quick resolution to this crime, Esquin is offering a $20,000 reward for the safe recovery of the stolen wine. Individuals with information about this case should contact the Seattle Police Department.

 

Update 2: Police arrested a second suspect, a man in his 30s, at a home near Northgate in the early morning hours of December 9th. Detectives are still investigating the case and working to recover the stolen wine.