A Romanian Dutchman has been sentenced to 4.5 years in prison in Spain for the theft of very expensive bottles of wine from a luxury restaurant, Spanish media report. His Mexican girlfriend (28) was sentenced to four years in prison.
The theft was in the city of Cáceres, in western Spain. In October 2021, 45 bottles of wine disappeared from the cellar of the exclusive hotel and restaurant Atrio. One of these was a Château d’Yquem from 1806, with an estimated value of 350,000 euros. The total value of the stolen wine was more than 1.6 million euros, the court reports.
Nine months after the robbery, the 49-year-old man was arrested in Croatia, together with his girlfriend. In the meantime they had been to the Netherlands, among other places. The bottles are still missing.
The Spanish police spoke of a “meticulously planned” theft and according to the court, the two had been preparing for months. In the run-up to the theft, the hotel was visited three times before the woman made a reservation in October 2021 with a fake Swiss passport.
The man had not booked for the night, but he joined us for dinner. After the evening meal, the two were given a tour of the establishment’s wine cellar, court documents say.
Shortly after 2am, the woman called the front desk asking if she could have a salad. The receptionist thought that was a bit strange, because the woman had eaten a 14-course dinner. She was also on her own on her night shift. But in the end she agreed and left for the kitchen.
According to the court, that was when the man took off with a key card from the reception. That alone did not open the door to the cellar. The man would then have signaled to the Mexican woman that she had to distract the receptionist again.
The woman then called the reception again, this time asking if dessert could be served. The employee protested again, but finally decided to deliver some fruit to the woman.
Towels to avoid ringing
The man then allegedly took the master key card from the reception and put 45 bottles in a large backpack and two large sports bags in the cellar. The couple checked out at 5 a.m. and took bags “in which four towels from the hotel were stuffed to prevent the bottles from clinking against each other,” the court said.
The duo must also pay compensation of around 750,000 euros. Both say they are innocent. The two can still appeal the conviction.