'Significant' portion of wine stolen in Thanksgiving heist found
SEATTLE -- Detectives have recovered a "significant" portion of the 200 cases of wine -- properly stored in a temperature-controlled environment -- stolen during the Thanksgiving heist at Esquin Wine & Spirits.
According to the Seattle Police Department, a search warrant was served at a building less than a mile from Esquin, leading to the discovery of the stolen wine, which despite fears expressed earlier by the victims, was not ruined by improper storage during Seattle's recent cold snap.
"I was so excited I was shaking when I went over to identify (the wine)," said Esquin owner Chuck LeFevre.
Police are still doing inventory on the recovered wine but the amount of wine found makes the LeFevre optimistic all the missing wine is accounted for.
"Words can't express how thrilled we are that the wine stolen from our facility on Thanksgiving Day has been safely recovered," LeFevre said in a statement. "I also can't begin to express the gratitude we all feel toward the officers, detectives and leaders within the Seattle Police Department for their tireless pursuit of these criminals and the dogged police work that lead to the recovery of the wine."
The wine, worth up to $648,000, was taken during a 13-hour burglary at the business in SoDo. Two local plumbers have been arrested and charged in connection with the crime, which also included an attempt to burn down the building housing Esquin.
"It was painful to go through the process of talking to people who have lost wine. Some people lost some valuable wine, other people lost wine of sentimental value," said LeFevre, whose daughter was among those whose wine was stolen.
"I had collected a few gems over the years," said LeFevre's daughter Alisha Gosline. "Probably the one I was most upset when I opened my locker and realized that I'd been hit was I had 2005 Bordeaux that I had put aside for my son when he turns 21."
Detectives are also looking into a possible connection between the suspects -- Samuel Harris and Luke Thesing -- and the theft and resale of $100,000 worth of wine earlier this year in San Francisco.
Police will photograph and document each recovered bottle then enter it into evidence before finding the owner.