Two men stole more than $600,000 worth of wine last week from a high-end wine shop/wine storage facility in Seattle’s Sodo neighborhood, according to Seattle police.
Police say the thieves tried to cover their tracks by painting over surveillance cameras and slashed gas lines in an attempt to start a fire at Esquin Wine Merchants, 2700 Fourth Ave. S.
The suspects were identified through security-camera images as two men who previously had rented a storage locker at the business, according to Seattle police. Investigators learned the men’s names through staffers at Esquin who had taken the information down when the pair signed up to rent one of the temperature-controlled storage lockers.
According to police, the two men broke into Esquin on Nov. 27 and spray-painted the lenses of surveillance cameras and disabled motion sensors by placing plastic bags over them, police said. Then, after stealing more than 200 cases of wine in nine separate trips the next day, they tampered with two gas lines, releasing gas into the building in an attempt to cause an explosion, police said. The two hauled out more than 200 cases of wine, according to police. The stolen wine had an estimated value of $648,000. A building manager who came by the shop on Friday smelled gas and dialed 911.
The break-in was discovered after police, firefighters and gas-company technicians shut off the gas and cleared the building.
On Monday night, burglary detectives and the South Precinct Anti-Crime Team officers arrested one of the two men at his South Seattle home. The man was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of burglary and attempted arson. Detectives are searching for the second suspect and working to track down the wine.
Employees at Esquin declined to comment Wednesday morning.
An earler version of this post incorrectly said the two men broke into the storage facility on Friday.