Seattle police have arrested a second suspect in the theft of more than $600,000 worth of wine from a South Seattle wine shop and storage facility. But the search continues for the missing wine.
King County prosecutors on Monday charged Luke A. Thesing, 35, with one count each of Attempted First Degree Arson, Second Degree Burglary and Second Degree Theft.
Co-defendant, Samuel Arby Harris, 34, was charged last week with the same charges. Both defendants remain in jail with bail set at $500,000.
The two men are accused of robbing the facility and then trying to burn the building down to cover up the crime.
Police arrested the second suspect at a home near Northgate in the early morning hours of December 9th.
The thieves broke in to Esquin Wine Merchants in the SoDo neighborhood around 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 29. The business houses 450 privately-rented, temperature controlled wine storage locker.
The suspects painted over security cameras, then spent the next 13 hours hauling out more than 200 cases of wine valued at approximately $648,000 from the shop and storage lockers.
Police say the thieves then cut two gas lines and tried to set them on fire.
A building manager discovered the gas leak and called 911.
Wine shop staff was able to identify the suspects, with images from a missed camera, as two men who’d previously rented a storage locker and had given their names and addresses when they signed up.
Detectives arrested one of the suspects in his South Seattle home.
Police continue searching for the stolen wine. Esquin Wine Merchants is offering a $20,000 reward for the return of the wine.
Esquin Wine Merchants released a statement following the robbery:
On Thanksgiving evening, criminals broke into Esquin Wine Merchants and stole a large quantity of wine from our personal storage lockers. The sophistication and timing of the break-in indicates that the criminals had carefully planned their crime for some time. Thankfully, our security measures worked and we were able to collect enough evidence of the crime for the police to identify suspects, one of whom was apprehended and arraigned earlier today.
We are committed to providing our customers with the very best in wine storage, and are pleased that our security measures helped lead to the apprehension of one of the suspects. We are cooperating fully with the police investigation and are happy about the progress being made to bring these criminals to justice.
In the interest of a quick resolution to this crime, Esquin is offering a $20,000 reward for the safe recovery of the stolen wine. Individuals with information about this case should contact the Seattle Police Department.