A former Mexican beauty queen and her Romanian-Dutch partner were sentenced four years in prison for an audacious heist which saw them pose as high-end diners to steal $1.7 million worth of wine.
Priscila Guevara, 28, and Constantín Dumitru, 49, were sentenced Monday for the 2021 plot which saw them book a 14-course meal from the Atrio hotel in the Spanish city of Cáceres, per local media.
According to Spain’s El País, the theft took place on October 27, 2021, and was initially successful.
One of the bottles was from 1806 and was worth around $330,000, according to police. Officers released security footage including a shot of Dumitru and Guevara leaving the hotel with the stolen wine.
They had visited the hotel three times in the summer, scoping out the location and planning their theft, the outlet wrote, citing a local court’s statement of facts.
On the day of the heist, Guevara checked into the Atrio with a faux Swiss passport, while Dumitru arrived as an unregistered guest, per El Pais.
That evening, the couple ordered a 14-course meal at the hotel’s Michelin-star restaurant, and then were led on a guided tour of the wine cellar, per the outlet.
After they returned to their rooms, Guevara called room service to order a salad at 2 a.m. to distract the receptionist, who was alone on night shift, per El País.
The receptionist refused to leave his post at first, wondering why Guevara wanted to eat a salad when she had just finished a 14-course meal, the outlet reported. But he accepted Guevara’s request eventually, it said, leaving his desk for 20 minutes, which gave Dumitru time to steal the keycard to the wine cellar.
But Dumitru later realized he stole the wrong key, and had to call Guevara to distract the receptionist again, per The Guardian, citing court statements.
“Moments later, the woman again called the front desk, this time asking for a dessert. After initially objecting, the employee finally agreed to bring her some fruit,” the court statement said, per the outlet.
Dumitru snagged the right keycard this time and entered the cellar, stuffing 45 bottles into a backpack and two duffels, El País reported.
Dumitru then went back up to the couple’s hotel room. They left the before dawn next morning, lining their bags with towels so the glass wouldn’t clink, according to El Pais.
Days later, the Atrio’s owners realized the wine was stolen and reported the theft to the police.
“They were professionals, they knew exactly what they were doing,” wrote José Polo, one of the owners of Atrio, at the time.
Nine months after the heist, Guevara and Dumitru were arrested some 1,300 miles away in Croatia, near the border to Montenegro, wrote El País. They were returned to Spain to stand trial.
The wines were never recovered, but the pair was ordered by the court to pay $800,000 in damages to insurers, per The Guardian.
Guevara was given four years in prison, while Dumitru was sentenced to four and a half. Both pleaded not guilty, and their sentences can be appealed, per El Pais.
As for the restaurant at Atrio, the stolen wines were insured, and the establishment has won its third Michelin star since the heist.
The Cáceres public prosecutor’s office and a lawyer for Dumitru did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.