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Saturday 20 December 2014

Guards recover $600,000 of stolen wine

14th January, 2014 by Lauren Eads

Two security guards have split a $20,000 reward after recovering more than half a million dollars worth of stolen wine.

Fine wine cellarThousands of bottles of wine were stolen from Esquin Wine Merchants in Seattle during an “elaborate heist” at their wine store and storage facility on Thanksgiving Day, according to the Seattle Times.

Jim White and Terry Ottaway Jr, of Northwest Security Services, were presented with the money last week by Chuck Esquin, owner of the wine merchants.

The wine was discovered in a temperature controlled storage facility on December 11, where the two men were providing security services, less than a mile away from Esquin’s facility.

Two men, Samuel Harris, 34, and Luke Thesing, 35, have been arrested and charged with theft, burglary and attempted arson for allegedly planning and carrying out the heist.

Both men are being held in King County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.

According to the Seattle Times, prosecutors allege the two men entered the building by disabling motion sensors and spray-painting surveillance cameras before making off with 200 cases of wine estimated to be worth $648,000.

Before they left, the thieves are alleged to have cut gas lines and tampered with a pilot light, which fire officials said could have caused an explosion in the building.

The theft was discovered the next day when the smell of gas was detected in the building.

However the pair missed one surveillance camera allowing Esquin employees to identify Harris who previously had rented a wine-storage locker at the facility.

Thesing was arrested after police found among Harris’ possessions a receipt from Lowe’s, which had surveillance video showing the two men together, according to the documents.

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