American Canyon police have arrested a warehouse employee on suspicion of stealing 350 cases of wine worth $400,000. Jose Pina, 31, of Vacaville, was arrested at 6 p.m. Tuesday for grand theft and possession of stolen property, American Canyon police Chief Tracey Stuart said.
Sheriff’s detectives then served a search warrant Tuesday at Pina’s apartment in the 1500 block of Alamo Drive in Vacaville, Stuart said. Detectives allegedly found more stolen wine and $73,150 in cash believed to be from black market wine sales. So far three wineries are victims of the theft, Stuart said. The wine theft from the storage warehouse in the 600 block of Hanna Drive in American Canyon was reported on March 13, Stuart said.
The theft is believed to have occurred after the warehouse completed an inventory on Feb. 15. The theft came to light when a person approached a licensed broker to sell some of the stolen wine. The broker was suspicious and contacted the winery directly, Stuart said. The winery then contacted the warehouse where the wine that was offered for sale was being stored, Stuart said. Warehouse staff couldn’t locate the wine and reported the theft.
The investigation centered on an employee as a suspect because of the large amount of wine that was stolen and because there was no forced entry into the warehouse, Stuart said. The warehouse company is notifying known victims and scheduling inventories, Stuart said. Some of the wine made it to retail establishments, and the investigation is continuing to determine if the retailers bought the wine from a licensed broker, Stuart said. Police are not identifying the operator of the warehouse or the three wineries that were victimized, Stuart said.
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