As you well know, Uproxx loves a good heist story. While men walking away with buckets of gold and senior citizens stealing $300 million are the typical stories, there are also plenty of oddities out there. Who can forget the cheese heists in Wisconsin where thieves walked off with $160,000 worth of cheese? While that cheese might be the proper pairing, those thieves might have some friendly faces to look for if they’re willing to visit France any time soon.
That’s because a group of thieves entered Paris’ famous catacombs and made their way through into the wine cellar of a collector while he was out of town. The AP reports that at least two other cellars were broken into before the thieves found their way into their target, making off with a reported $300,000 in vintage wine:
Paris police said Wednesday some 250 to 300 bottles, worth up to 1,000 euros ($1,200) each, were stolen from the cellar in the 6th arrondissement of Paris sometime between July 28 and Monday, while the owner was vacationing.
The robbers apparently broke through the wall of the basement cellar from the “Catacombs” network of tunnels under Paris. That they located the cellar so accurately from underground leads police to suspect the theft was carefully planned.
The collector is still putting together his list of missing wine, but the total figure above is the healthy estimate he has provided authorities. Atlas Obscura adds that this is far from the first wine heist to hit those types of numbers. A 2014 robbery in California featured thieves making off with 100 bottles from a local French restaurant that totaled $500,000. And while it might seem like these are sophisticated types using sophisticated methods to do the crimes, a Bloomberg report makes it clear that’s not the case:
“This is not Ocean’s Eleven…They’re not crawling under laser beams or anything. They’re using sledgehammers and crowbars. But they know what wine they want. This is wine stolen to order.”
So they’re just conventional thieves with high-end tastes. The Paris robbery does add the intrigue of the Catacombs, though. It’s typically closed at night and only a mile is open to tourists legally, though Atlas Obscura adds that plenty of secret entrances exist and lead to folks entering to explore, have parties, or perform music. Now we can add “steal vintage wine” to that list.