A Romanian is the author of the most spectacular robbery in Spain in recent years
Romanian Constantin Gabriel, aged 47, was arrested in Croatia 9 months after committing the most spectacular and publicized robbery in Spain in recent years. In just 10 seconds, he stole over 1.6 million euros worth of vintage wines. The operation was carefully planned, and the Romanian had his girlfriend, a former beauty queen from Mexico, as an accomplice.
Constantin Gabriel and his girlfriend, Priscilla Lara Guevara, 28, stole 45 bottles of collectible wine, worth more than €1.6 million, from the two-star Michelin Atrio restaurant in Cáceres, south-west Spain, on October 27, 2021. Just one of the bottles – an 1806 Château D’Yquem – is worth over 300,000 euros. The robbery captivated the Spanish, and his story was heavily publicized.
The couple left Spain days after the theft and wandered around Europe so much that officers found it difficult to keep up with them. They were eventually located at the border between Montenegro and Croatia and arrested in Croatia, following a joint operation by several police forces, including Interpol and Europol.
On October 26, 2021, Priscilla Lara Guevara checked into the Atrio Hotel with fake Swiss documents. In the evening, she and her boyfriend, Constantin Gabriel, had dinner, ordering a menu for 195 euros each, excluding VAT.
Before that, they visited the restaurant’s wine cellar and left a generous tip to the employee who accompanied them. The two went to the room, after eating copiously, quite late. However, it is midnight, the woman called the reception and asked for a salad, as the kitchen was closed. But he only did this to distract the employees. During this time, Constantin went down to the cellar and with a magnetic card that he had previously stolen, entered the cellar. As seen on camera, he stole the 45 bottles – which he placed in three large backpacks, one on his back and two in each hand – in just 10 seconds. The bottles were protected with the towels taken from the room.
The couple left the hotel at 5.30am. The next day, the two had a reservation at another famous restaurant with a wine cellar, in Madrid, but they canceled it. They stayed a few days in Spain, during which they changed several cars, after which they walked around Europe, reaching Romania as well. They had an uncanny knack for disappearing without a trace just when the investigators thought they were catching them. But recently, their routine was interrupted by an unfortunate accident – the death of Constantin’s daughter. The two became more careless and thus were located and arrested in Croatia a few days ago.
They will be extradited to Spain in the coming days. However, so far they have refused to say what they did with the wine bottles.