Dutch-Romanian man gets 4.5 years in prison for €1.6 million wine theft in Spain
A Dutch-Romanian man was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison by a Spanish court for a wine theft at the well-known hotel-restaurant Atrio in the Western Spanish city of Caceres that made global headlines. Together with his Mexican girlfriend, who was handed a 4-year prison sentence, the man was convicted of stealing bottles of wine worth a combined total of more than 1.6 million euros. One bottle alone was worth 350,000 euros.
The theft took place in October 2021, and police said preparations had been meticulously. After a nine-month search, the two suspects were arrested in Croatia last summer. A Spanish court convicted the couple of the robbery in its ruling on Monday. In addition to the prison sentences, they were jointly ordered to pay compensation of more than 750,000 euros to the hotel.
The woman is said to have distracted the receptionist at the hotel-restaurant receptionist by ordering a salad at 2 a.m. from the two Michelin star business. The two had already had a 14-course dinner, but after the woman's insistence, the receptionist, who was working alone, agreed to the request. The man meanwhile sneaked into the wine cellar with a key he had stolen from the unstaffed reception area, but the key did not work.
After the salad, the woman then ordered a dessert, which was prepared by the receptionist. That gave the man the opportunity to obtain the correct key.
Once in the wine cellar, the man filled a backpack and two large bags with 45 wine bottles. One of the bottles was an 1806 Chateau D'Yquem, a Bordeaux wine with an estimated value of 350,000 euros. The two had visited Atrio three times before and, like many guests, had been given a tour of the wine cellar.
The couple's arrest followed an international search that also involved the Dutch, Croatian and Romanian police. The stolen bottles of wine were never recovered.
Late last year, Atrio was awarded its third Michelin star. The award was first mentioned in the 2023 Michelin Guide for Spain and Portugal.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times