A thief with a taste for fine wine is targeting businesses across the northeast, and police in Groton, Connecticut, believe a 25-year-old New York man is behind the spree.
Groton police have identified him as Scott Deluca, of New York, and have obtained a warrant for his arrest. Police said Deluca is also suspected of stealing pricey wine from businesses in Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey and has committed more than half a dozen thefts.
Investigators believe Deluca is the man caught on camera stealing a $4,800 bottle of 1990 Chateau Petrus from the Mystic Marriott's Octagon Restaurant on Monday. Authorities said he made arrangements to meet with the manager under the guise of planning a formal dinner party there.
"It's not just stealing one bottle of wine. It's stealing a certain bottle of wine. It's something you see in art thefts or collectible type of thefts. The person targets a specific bottle, locates it, and commits the theft itself," said Det. Lt. John Varone, of the Groton Town Police Department.
"We have linked this person and crime to a series of crimes that happened in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey," he added.
Groton police have also reached out to police in Bloomfield because they believe Deluca may have stolen from a liquor store there in August. According to Bloomfield police, a man stole from Gillette Ridge Wines twice in just a few days and got away with $1,000 in wine.
In surveillance video Gillette Ridge Wines gave exclusively to NBC Connecticut, a man is seen casually strolling in and browsing the wine selection with the help of a female employee.
When the man attempts to leave less than 10 minutes later, the worker accuses him of taking a bottle of wine. The video shows the man patting his pants pockets and raising his arms. The employee then reaches for his shirt, which appears to be bulging slightly.
A struggle ensues, and the man holds a $200 bottle of wine tightly while fighting with the woman before running for the exit with the wine in hand, the video shows.
Store employees said the worker chases after him, but the thief jumped inside a green Jeep Cherokee and took off. A woman was behind the wheel.
Groton police said they have secured an arrest warrant for Deluca, who also has warrants for his arrest in New York and New Jersey.
Anyone with information on the thefts or Deluca’s whereabouts is asked to call Groton police.