Atrio in Cáceres, Spain.

Atrio in Cáceres, Spain.

Couple handed lengthy jail terms for theft of £1.4m worth of wine

Global News

A 200-year-old bottle of Château d’Yquem among the haul Spanish police are yet to retrieve.

As wine thefts go, the removal of bottles worth £1.4million from an upmarket Spanish hotel would appear to be in the daring bracket, but the couple who successfully walked out with a haul of 45 bottles now face four-and-a-half year sentences for their crimes.

Among the vintages procured by Priscila Guevara and Constantín Dumitru from the Atrio in Cáceres, 180 miles south west of Madrid, was a 217-year-old Château d’Yquem worth £310,000 (€350,000). Despite the Spanish police labelling the heist a meticulously-planned operation, the couple’s scheme simply involved stealing a key card and placing the wine bottles in sports bags.

The pair had visited the hotel three times and were aware of the restaurant’s renowned wine cellar, touring it on the day of the theft in October 2021. After enjoying a 14-course meal at the Michelin-starred restaurant, they retired for the evening before Guevara, a former Mexican beauty queen, went down to reception to order a salad.

The receptionist was aware that the couple had eaten at the restaurant earlier in the evening and found the order odd, eventually giving in to the request and leaving the desk unoccupied. Dumitru then stole a key card from reception which he thought was for the wine cellar; however, he discovered he had taken the wrong key card, forcing him to call Guevara who had returned to their room, she then calling reception to request a dessert.

A selection of fruit was retrieved from the kitchen by the receptionist, allowing Dumitru to steal the hotel master key card allowing him to successfully gain entrance to the cellar: he knew what he was looking for and grabbed 45 bottles including the Château d’Yquem, the couple checking out at 5am, with towels carefully positioned in the couple’s luggage to prevent the bottles clinking on their early exit.

When the theft was discovered, an international police hunt was initiated which ended the following July, 2022, when the couple were caught attempting to cross the border into Croatia. However, attempts to retrieve any of the wine have so far proved unsuccessful, the couple staying tight lipped, with the Romanian-Dutch Dumitru pleading not guilty throughout the trial, while Guevara entered no plea.

Falstaff Editorial Team

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