There are different category of thieves, from your regular stick up guys to Ocean’s Eleven style masterminds. Although illegal, the latter heists can almost be considered a form of art. That was the case this past Monday when a group of thieves in Paris stole about $300,000 of wine from a cellar by drilling through an adjacent wall below the Paris Catacombs. According to The Guardian, the bandits managed to steal about 300 bottles of exceptional wine and then vanished without a trace.
According to Paris police, a good amount of reconnaissance and planning must have gone into this theft. A spokesman for the police offered a hypothesis: “We believe they must have made visits before; the suspects didn’t drill that particular wall by accident,” The Guardian reports. The Catacombs are vast, closed at night, and many of the passages are off-limits to the public. Police believe that the labyrinth gave the thieves significant cover to make off with the loot.
The Catacombs are a series of crypts that runs beneath the streets of Paris. Beginning in the 13th century, the area was mined for limestone to construct the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, and other city structures. The mining left empty spaces, which eventually became the Catacombs. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the remains of millions of Parisians were moved to the Catacombs because graveyards were considered a risk to public health.
If there’s a French way of stealing wine, it’s through the Catacombs.
While a high profile crime, it will be difficult to capture the wine bandits. Unlike marked currency or unique pieces of art, bottles of wine don’t always have a means of specific identification and it’d be difficult for someone who doesn’t know much about wine to know if the bottles were one of the ones stolen. And once the bottles are sold or auctioned individually, they’ll disappear into the ether. Unless the collection is discovered intact, the thieves will likely make a healthy profit. Of course, they’ll probably taste a few bottles to celebrate, and just to make sure they’re not corked.