Mexican beauty queen and accomplice in £1.4million wine theft jailed
Mexican beauty queen and her accomplice who posed as diners at exclusive Spanish restaurant, tricking their way into the cellar and stealing prestige wine worth £1.4million are jailed for four years
- Priscila Lara Guevara, 29, and Constantin Gabriel Dumitru, 47, were found guilty
- They stole stealing 45 bottles of wine from the Atrio Restaurant Hotel in Caceres
A former Mexican beauty queen and her Romanian-born boyfriend have been convicted and jailed over a daring wine theft at a Michelin-starred Spanish restaurant.
Priscila Lara Guevara and Constantin Gabriel Dumitru were found guilty of stealing 45 bottles of wine from the Atrio Restaurant Hotel in Caceres near Spain’s border with Portugal after a two-day trial.
The 29-year-old Mexican was handed a four-year prison sentence and her 47-year-old boyfriend got four and a half years.
The written 24-page sentence, made public on Monday, also said they had been ordered to pay 753,000 euros (£667,000) in compensation.
Despite prosecutors pricing the bottles of wine before trial at more than 1.6 million euros (£1.45 million), their value was reduced during the open court hearing by insurers to the amount the convicted pair are now being asked for.
Former Miss Earth Mexico contestant Priscila Lara Guevara and Constantin Gabriel Dumitru were found guilty of stealing 45 bottles of wine from the Atrio Restaurant Hotel in Caceres near Spain’s border with Portugal after a two-day trial
General view of wine bottles at Restaurante Atrio wine cellar in Caceres, Spain
The wine included an 1884 Chateau d’Yquem on the menu at Atrio for 350,000 euros (£310,000),
The court ruled it had been proven Priscila, a former Miss Earth Mexico contestant, and her partner had committed the theft on October 27, 2021 after making at least three prior visits to the hotel.
They are said to have fled the hotel hours after taking the wine and left Spain days later, sparking a hunt across Europe which ended with their arrest on Croatia’s border with Slovenia in July last year. They were extradited to Spain last August to face trial.
Police described the wine theft at the time as ‘precise and professionally planned.’
The three judges who sentenced Priscila and her partner said she had used a false passport to reserve a room at the hotel and ruled Dumitru turned up unannounced to dine at its restaurant before they enjoyed a guided tour of the wine cellar.
Hotel CCTV captured the pair, who had checked in with false Swiss identity documents, checking out at 5.30 a.m. and leaving on foot with no forensic trace of their presence left at the hotel
Security cameras show a man leaving the premises carrying three bags of stolen wine bottles
They said it had been proven the theft occurred after the former beauty queen put in a night-time order for food from her hotel room, leading to her boyfriend taking advantage of the fact a hotel employee had left reception to go to the kitchen and pinching a master key that opened the door to the wine cellar.
None of the bottles of wine have ever been tracked down amid speculation they were stolen to order and may never be recovered.
In a Spanish newspaper interview shortly before the start of the trial one of the El Atrio owners Tono Perez said: ‘We have turned the chapter on something which has been extremely painful for us.
‘People often reflect on the price of the wine that was taken but for us it has been a lot more than that.
‘There is something much more passional here because we’d taken more than 30 years to build up our wine collection.
Pictured: Rafael Sandoval, one of the owners of Coque restaurant, talks to media members outside the restaurant in Madrid, Spain, on November 2, 2022
Pictured: The Hotel-Restaurant Atrio. Despite prosecutors pricing the bottles of wine before trial at more than 1.6 million euros (£1.45 million), their value was reduced during the open court hearing by insurers to the amount the convicted pair are now being asked for
‘If the bottles turn up that would be marvellous, but we think that is going to be difficult.’
The trial took place at Caceres Provincial Court over two days and finished late last month. The judges had said they needed time to consider their verdict and sentence.
It was not immediately clear on Monday if the convicted couple would put in an appeal.
Priscila Lara Guevara, said to hail from Ecatepec in the State of Mexico, represented her home region in Miss Earth 2016. She speaks fluent English.
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