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Swedish Police Searching for Stolen Bordeaux

Thieves cleaned out special cellar of rare Bordeaux at a Stockholm restaurant

Mitch Frank
Posted: August 28, 2006

Be on the lookout for more than 600 bottles of rare Bordeaux. A restaurant in Sweden reported last week that thieves stole its prized collection of Bordeaux first-growths last month.

Chef Gunnar Ström and his wife, Katrina, owners of Ulriksdals Wärdshus, an upscale restaurant located in a royal park just north of Stockholm, have long touted their special wine collection, which includes at least one bottle from the five first-growths and Château d'Yquem from every vintage spanning 1900 to 2000. But someone stole the entire collection during the night of July 22, and Swedish police admit they have few leads. "You can't understand how upset we all are," said beverage manager Thomas Forssner. The collection has an estimated value of 3.5 million kronor, or $485,000.

The Bordeaux burglars obviously did their homework. They struck while the Ströms were on vacation and the restaurant was closed. A phone line connected to the alarm system was cut and the alarm disabled, four secure doors were pried open and the videotape in the surveillance system was taken. Not to mention it takes time and care to pack and load up more than 50 cases of wine without leaving a fingerprint. Police only found a footprint after a neighbor reported a broken door more than a day later.

But, said Forssner, "It was not a secret that we had all these wines." The collection, in addition to the French-focused regular wine list of 150 less-rare selections, has been a draw for diners, and the restaurant is known for organized tastings and wine events. (The thieves did not touch the bottles on the regular wine list.) Though many bottles in the special collection were past their prime, customers could order from the collection as long as the Ströms owned more than one bottle of that particular vintage.

Forssner said the collection was insured, and he believes that while wine theft is not a top priority for the police, the insurers will want to try and find it. While it's unlikely anyone would try to sell it on the open market, a private collector may be interested or the thieves could sell bottles individually.

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