A thief with a thirst for pricey wine is going on a crime spree across the Northeast. 25-year-old Scott Deluca is wanted in connection with at least half a dozen wine thefts across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, reports NBC Connecticut — including a $4,800 bottle of 1990 Chateau Petrus.
Police say it's definitely not a random crime spree: "It's something you see in art thefts or collectible type of thefts. The person targets a specific bottle, locates it, and commits the theft itself," a detective for the Groton, Conn. police force tells NBC Connecticut.
Deluca was caught on surveillance camera nabbing the Petrus from a hotel restaurant in Groton on Monday; police say "he made arrangements to meet with the manager under the guise of planning a formal dinner party there." The portion of the video posted by the news station shows Deluca, alone in a dining room, looking around before creeping into the wine room to peer at the expensive bottles.
Deluca's also been captured on tape stealing from a wine store in Bloomfield, Conn. He was confronted by an employee and a brief struggle ensued, but the thief got away. In this case, it was a considerably less precious bottle worth only $200.
One has to wonder if Deluca is selling the stuff on the black market, or if he's simply got Champagne taste on a Miller Lite budget. Nonetheless, when it comes to wine theft he's relatively small-time: Last year, thieves targeted Thomas Keller's French Laundry and made off with $300,000 in wine, although most of it was later recovered. Wine warehouses are where the really big scores are, though: This summer a group of thieves in England stole more than $2 million worth of vintage wine from a warehouse that supplies the royal family.
Watch the news report on the Northeastern wine thefts, below: