SPD investigation into alcohol theft ring nets 6 arrests

SEATTLE -- Seattle police say they've taken down a liquor theft ring that was supplying booze to high school kids and wedding parties.

The investigation began in September after police arrested a shoplifter who said he had stolen as much as $100,000 worth of booze since June, when Washington retailers began selling hard alcohol.

That man then helped officers set up a sting operation, which resulted in six arrests on Thursday.

Police say two valet drivers at the Warwick Hotel and two workers from a businesses at the Pike Place Market bought what they believed was stolen liquor from undercover officers.

One of the suspected thieves owns Pike Place Flowers, and police say some of the people who went into the store were looking to buy booze.

"There were individuals who appeared to be transient and not have any flowers," said Jim Pugel with the Seattle Police Department.

Pugel said the members of the ring knew exactly what kind of alcohol they wanted.

"They would ask very specifically -- our undercover informant -- to specifically steal it was very high-end alcohol," he said. "You name it, it was some of the most expensive on the market."

In addition to Thursday's arrests, police say they recovered 451 bottles of stolen alcohol and 11 guns.