Thieves take off with $3.5 million of wine

July 25, 2015 4:57 am

 

The thieves opened bottles of Moet & Chandon to celebrate. Photo / AP

Vintage wine worth almost £1.5 million (NZ$3.5 million) has been
stolen from the Royal Family’s supplier by thieves who broke into a
warehouse and crawled under laser beams – before opening champagne to
celebrate.
Using tactics often seen in Hollywood heist movies,
the gang put a ladder against the side of the building to turn CCTV
cameras the other way.
They then used power tools to cut a 4ft by
4ft hole in the wall before crawling under the motion sensors which run
along the side of the warehouse and trigger an alarm if they detect
movement.
After evading the beams, they used wine crates as ladders to climb up to the level where the most valuable vintages are stored.
For
three hours they formed a chain and passed wooden cases worth around
£5,000 each along the floor before pushing them through the hole and
stacking them in their van.
French wines from Chateau Latour,
which are worth up to £1,000 a bottle, and Chateau Mouton-Rothschild
were among those taken from the warehouse in Basingstoke, Hampshire.

The thieves opened bottles of Moet & Chandon inside the
warehouse belonging to Berry Bros & Rudd to celebrate their success,
it was said.
Last night sources said the raid “had to be an
inside job” because the thieves had an intimate knowledge of the
warehouse and its security systems.
“They knew which way the CCTV cameras were facing and either avoided them or climbed a ladder to move them,” a source said.
“And
the hole in the wall was cut in the perfect place. It was only inches
below the laser security beam. You could not have picked a better spot.”
One
source told how the thieves located a hidden security camera inside the
building and “adjusted” it so that it would not capture images of the
raid.
“There are members of staff who have worked at the
warehouse for years who didn’t know that camera existed,” he said.
“That’s impressive inside knowledge.”
“And there are thousands of
bottles inside, but they knew where to look. The crates are stacked
from Level A to Level F. They went straight to Level B where the best
wines are.
“What I find staggering is that they then had a party to celebrate.”
The
burglary at the warehouse, which contains both wine for retail and wine
which the company stores for customers, took place in the early hours
of April 26.
The value of the stolen wine is believed to be
£1.38million. Hampshire Police confirmed that no arrests have been made
and said the “investigation is ongoing”.
Berry Bros & Rudd
opened in St James’s Street, London, in 1698 and has supplied wines to
the Royal Family since the reign of George III.
A spokesman said:
“We continue to work with the police and our security advisers to
prevent any incidents from happening again, and have further reinforced
the already high levels of security and monitoring at our facilities.”

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