Mexican beauty queen and accomplice in theft of prestigious wine worth £1.4 million sentenced to four years in prison
Mexican beauty queen and her accomplice who posed as diners at an exclusive Spanish restaurant, broke into the cellar and stole prestigious wine worth £1.4 million, are sentenced to four years in prison
- Priscila Lara Guevara, 29, and Constantin Gabriel Dumitru, 47, were found guilty
- They stole 45 bottles of wine from the Atrio Restaurant Hotel in Caceres
A former Mexican beauty queen and her Romanian-born boyfriend have been found guilty of 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 received four years in prison and her 47-year-old boyfriend four and a half years.
The 24-page written sentence, made public on Monday, also said they had been ordered to pay 753,000 euros (£667,000) in damages.
Despite prosecutors pricing the bottles of wine for the trial at more than 1.6 million euros (£1.45 million), their value was reduced by insurers at the public hearing to the amount now demanded from the convicted couple.
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 in the wine cellar of Restaurante Atrio 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 that Priscila, a former Miss Earth Mexico contestant, and her partner had been proven to have committed the theft on October 27, 2021 after at least three previous visits to the hotel.
They allegedly fled the hotel hours after drinking the wine and left Spain days later, sparking a hunt across Europe that ended with their arrest at the Croatian border with Slovenia last July. They were extradited to Spain last August to face trial.
Police at the time described the wine theft as “precisely and professionally planned.”
The three judges who sentenced Priscila and her partner said she used a fake passport to reserve a room at the hotel and ruled that Dumitru showed up unannounced to dine at the restaurant before enjoying a tour of the wine cellar.
Hotel CCTV captured the couple, who had checked in with fake Swiss identity documents, checked out at 5:30am and left on foot with no forensic trace of their presence left at the hotel
Security cameras show a man leaving the building with three bags of stolen wine bottles
They said the theft was proven to have happened after the former beauty queen placed an overnight order for food from her hotel room, leading her boyfriend to take advantage of the fact that a hotel employee had left the front desk to go to the kitchen and squeeze a master key that opened the door to the wine cellar.
None of the bottles of wine have ever been traced amid speculation that they were stolen to order and may never be recovered.
In an interview with a Spanish newspaper shortly before the start of the trial, one of the owners of El Atrio, Tono Perez, said: ‘We have turned the chapter on something that has been extremely painful for us.
“People often think about the price of the wine that was drunk, but for us it has been much more than that.
“There is something much more passive here, because it took us over 30 years to build our wine collection.
Pictured: Rafael Sandoval, one of the owners of the Coque restaurant, talks to media members outside the restaurant in Madrid, Spain, on Nov. 2, 2022
In the photo: Hotel-Restaurant Atrio. Despite prosecutors having priced the bottles of wine at more than 1.6 million euros (£1.45 million) for the trial, their value was reduced by insurers at the public hearing to the amount the convicted couple are now being asked to pay
“If the bottles turn up, that would be great, but that’s going to be difficult, we think.”
The trial took place in the provincial court of Caceres over two days and ended at the end of last month. The judges had said they needed time to consider their verdict and sentence.
It was not immediately clear on Monday whether the convicted couple would appeal.
Priscila Lara Guevara, who hails from Ecatepec, Mexico State, represented her home region in Miss Earth 2016. She is fluent in English.