The most enigmatic and media coup of recent times has just been resolved. Nine months after the theft of 45 exclusive bottles, valued at more than 1.6 million euros, from the Atrio restaurant in Cáceres, the Police have arrested their two alleged perpetrators (a man and a woman) at the Croatian border. after traveling through Europe throughout this period and changing countries every so often with the intention of not leaving a trace.

One of the two owners of the winery, José Polo, was always very pessimistic when it came to trusting that the case would be resolved and had even managed to close an agreement, last March, with the winery’s insurance company to collect an indemnification. Specifically, it considered lost one of the most iconic specimens in the collection, a Château d’Yquem from 1806, valued at 310,000 euros -unique on the market-, in addition to other bottles of Romanée Conti, with an estimated price for each them of about 12,000 euros.

The detainees, according to the investigation, carried out a “millimeter” planning of the robbery, even visiting the restaurant up to three times beforehand, including the night of the abduction itself, when they dined in the restaurant next to the cellar. As reported by the Police, a few days after the event, the detainees left Spain and, after changing countries in Europe every so often, they have been located and arrested in Croatia.

The investigation details that those arrested were located in Croatia thanks “to the perfect coordination at the national and international level with the participation of agents of the National Police together with the Sirene Office, Europol and Interpol, the General Directorate of Criminal Police and Police Station Border of Gruda (Croatia), in addition to the Spanish Interior Attaché Offices in Romania and the Netherlands”.

The events occurred on October 27 and were committed by two people -a man and a woman-, who proved to be “highly specialized and experienced in carrying out the robbery with millimetric planning.” According to the steps taken, the agents have been able to verify that the woman stayed at the Hotel Atrio, formalizing the reservation through a false Swiss document. After having dinner at the restaurant with her accomplice, both visited the winery invited by the staff, a completely common practice with customers.

The police report that, after finishing dinner, they went up to the room and, a short time later, the man left the room to go to the basement where the cellar is located. After gaining access with a master key, previously stolen, he later left with three large backpacks – one in each hand and another on his back – where he introduced the bottles. To protect them, they used several towels from the room where they were staying. Meanwhile, the woman distracted the employee with the excuse that he prepare something to eat even though the kitchen was already closed. The theft was discovered the next morning. The alleged perpetrators were no longer at the hotel they left around 5:30 in the morning.

After “many steps”, both in Spain and in other countries, the agents managed to identify the two alleged perpetrators and found that they had “great professionalism, specialization and perfect planning of the robbery. In addition, it was found that they visited the restaurant before the robbery to carry out a preliminary study of the place. Locating the perpetrators of the robbery has been difficult. A few days after the robbery they left Spain and their high mobility and roaming have prevented knowing their exact whereabouts until, finally, they were located entering in Croatia from Montenegro through the Karasovi Sutorina border post. There they were detained, thanks to international cooperation, by the authorities of that country on the basis of the European arrest and surrender warrants requested by the National Police. In addition, at the time of the arrest, the man had two other arrest warrants issued by Madrid Courts.

“We don’t know anything officially, I hope they have recovered the bottles,” says hopeful José Polo, owner of the famous restaurant in a conversation with EL MUNDO. “The truth is that no one has officially called us to communicate anything, we have left the cathedral (in Burgos, where he is spending a few days on vacation) and our mobile phone has begun to ring, but no one has told us anything yet “.

Polo shows his satisfaction with the police work, but for the moment he does not know, and is anxious to find out, whether the stolen bottles have been recovered, especially the one that is most loved and valued, the one from 1806: “Hopefully we can have again, but at the moment we don’t know”, he is still incredulous, to point out that the Police will surely give a press conference tomorrow to offer more details of the operation.

He confesses that he considered them “for lost” because it was “a very well designed robbery, by specialists, and he was aware that it was very difficult to find them because these types of robberies have very exclusive, hidden, difficult to access markets as their destinations”. “Now I am hopeful, to see what happens finally”, he underlines.

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