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Beauty queen’s arrest over restaurant theft of £1.4m worth of vintage wine
July 21, 2022
A former beauty queen is accused of teaming with a man “with a history of stealing wine” to pull off a record vintage wine heist in which bottles of booze of “incalculable” value were stolen from a restaurant in Spain.
Priscila Lara Guevara, who represented Mexico in the “Miss Earth” contest, is alleged to have aided Constantin Gabriel Dumitru, in the audacious caper at Atrio restaurant and hotel in the medieval quarter of Cáceres in central Spain.
The owners of Atrio say that 45 bottles of valuable vintage wine were stolen last October, including an “irreplaceable” Château d’Yquem sweet white wine 1806 vintage, reportedly worth some £300,000.
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Sommelier José Polo, a co-owner of the upmarket restaurant, said the 1806 vintage was of “incalculable” value.
"That bottle was part of my personal history, almost part of me, of the history of Atrio, but also of Caceres, of its citizens, of wine lovers all over the world," he said in a letter to local published in Spanish-language daily El Pais.
Guevara and Dumitru, who the Telegraph describes as a “Romanian-born Dutch citizen with a history of stealing wine,” were arrested earlier this week as they crossed from Montenegro into Croatia, ending a nine-month manhunt.
There is no sign of the missing booze as of yet.
Carmina Márquez, the manager of the two Michelin-starred restaurant and hotel, explained how the heist unfolded.
A heavily disguised Ms Guevara is alleged to have booked into the hotel on October 27 under the name Mirka Golubic, showing a fake Swiss passport at reception.
Then, Ms Márquez told the Telegraph, Ms Guevara made a dinner reservation for two, although, Ms Márquez noted, "They did not see
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The couple enjoyed a complimentary tour of the Michelin-starred restaurant’s wine cellar before heading up to Ms Guevara's room at around 1am.
Later, Ms Guevara called reception and ordered room service – according to Spanish police, causing a distraction that allowed Dumitru to access the wine cellar "either with a copy of the key card or by stealing a card”.
"They spoke in English and were very polite," Mr Polo said describing the audacious theft as “like something out of a film”.
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The pair then left the hotel shortly after 5am, having allegedly wrapped the priceless bottles in towels and put them into backpacks.
It was only much later, after extensive examination of the hotel’s CCTV footage, that they were identified as suspects.
Mr Dumitro had reportedly been arrested in the past after attempting to steal expensive bottles of wine from gourmet food shops in Madrid reports the Telegraph.
He had also been caught stealing from a duty-free store in Geneva airport.
Spanish police worked with counterparts in the Netherlands, Croatia and Romania as the pair await to be formally charged following be extradited.
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