Four men were sentenced Tuesday, May 31 to prison terms by the Annecy Criminal Court (Haute-Savoie) in a case of thefts of great wines in restaurants, including the Auberge du Père Bise, two stars in the Michelin Guide.
The establishment of chef Jean Sulpice, located in Talloires on the shores of Lake Annecy, had been visited on the night of February 6 to 7, 2018. The criminals left with more than 300 bottles of grands crus, worth around 400,000 euros. The investigation, which was based in particular on video surveillance and telephone surveillance, had made it possible to make connections with other similar thefts committed in Rhône-Alpes: six establishments were targeted between November 2017 and February 2018, mainly in Haute-Savoie, but also in Isère and in the Rhône.
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The burglars, three men aged 30 to 40, from the Lyon suburbs, were sentenced to one to three years in prison. Profiles marked with “rooted in crime“explained the deputy prosecutor Fouad Messai, listing the many convictions entered in their criminal records, but also of”great players“especially fans of card games.
“No preparation” he defends himself.
These individuals engaged injourneys at night “to break” restaurants to bring back wines and sell these great wines through a person“, described the magistrate, evoking “bottles, some of which have a value exceeding 2,000 euros“. In April 2018, 154 bottles and around 25,000 euros in cash were found in one of the homes searched during the investigation. “There was no preparation. We were closer to the nickel-plated feet than the professionals they’d like to pass us off as“, declared at the bar one of the burglars, who had been recognized on images of the restaurant L’Ambroisie in Saint-Didier-de-la-Tour (Isère) because of his scar on the face.
Two other defendants denied their involvement in the robberies, confining themselves to referring to the other members of the group as “neighborhood knowledge“. Just like a fourth, who was acquitted by the court. As for the retailer, also living in the Lyon area, he bought wine stocks on the internet “unprofessionallybefore the facts. This “expert” has been “intoxicated by the passion which is his“, according to his lawyer, Me Tristan Jannot, finding himself “in possession of exceptional bottles», which he proposed to friends and wine professionals. The 46-year-old man was sentenced to seven months in prison for concealment, a sentence he will carry out under an electronic bracelet.
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