Connoisseur crook caught on camera stealing $900 worth of champagne

Wine stores see spike in shoplifting over holidays

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - A wine thief is caught on camera inside an Englewood liquor store stealing $900 worth of champagne.

"I was mopping and helping other customers," said Rachel Eastwood, who admits she was distracted when the thief came into the store last Sunday.

Still, she noticed his Italian accent and his clothing.

"He was dressed nicely. I always notice shoes, and he was wearing nice shoes," said Eastwood.

Turns out, he was dressed to steal -- surveillance video shows he put a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal inside his leather jacket and leaving the store.

Not long after, he returned and stole a bottle of Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill and a bottle of Salon Blanc de Blancs.  In all, the three bottles were worth more than $900.

"He knew just where to go and what to look for," said Eastwood.

It's just the latest case of thieves hoping to cash in on stolen spirits.

Last week, The Brown Palace reported six bottles of rare French wine stolen, valued at more than $4,600.

Wine thieves in Seattle recently stole more than half a million dollars worth of fine wine from a store, and were later caught.

Eastman said she is circulating the photos of the thief to other local liquor stores to warn them.

"Shoplifters are especially active during the holidays," said Eastman, who suspects the thief is selling the bottles on the black market, or perhaps planning to be a popular guest at a holiday party. "I hope he has people who actually enjoy those wines instead of making them into spritzers or something."