2,500 Bottles of Stolen Wine Possibly Linked to San Francisco Heist

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Police are investigating a possible link between wine heists in San Francisco and Seattle. Chase Cain reports.

    SEATTLE (AP) - Police have recovered more than 2,500 bottles of wine stolen from a South Seattle wine shop last month, and they're probing a possible connection to an earlier heist in San Francisco.

    Two  men are also in custody following the arrest: Luke Thesing, 35, and Samuel Harris, 34, who are in King County jail on $500,000 bail on charges of  first-degree arson, second-degree burglary and second-degree theft.

    The wine was taken over Thanksgiving at Esquin Wine Merchants, a wine shop that also has 450 privately rented, climate-controlled storage lockers. Prosecutors say the culprits broke in, painted over security cameras, cut through sheetrock to access the lockers, and tried to burn the building down.
     
    Investigators say the stolen wine, valued at $648,000, was found Tuesday at a storage facility less than a mile from the wine shop.

    Chuck LeFever, owner of Esquin, issued a statement, according to the Seattle Times: “Words can’t express how thrilled we are that the wine stolen from our facility on Thanksgiving Day has been safely recovered. While we are still doing an inventory to make sure it’s all there, the volume recovered makes us eager with anticipation and we can’t wait to share the good news with our customers.”
     
    They say the investigation indicated the suspects last spring sold a large amount of wine to a San Francisco dealer for $100,000 - soon after a break-in at a high-end Bernal Heights neighborhood wine shop, Fine Wines International.

    Wine dealer Neal Dessouky said: "I"m not able to comment on any of this at this point. Unfortunately, I've been advised not to speak."


     NBC Bay Area's Chase Cain and the Seattle Times contributed to this report.