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2 men held in alleged theft of wine worth $500,000

February 11, 2011 |  7:01 pm

Bell police detectives Friday arrested two men on suspicion of trying to sell stolen wine, authorities said.

Acting on a tip, detectives noticed a man trying to sell bottles of 2007 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon at a Gage Avenue parking lot,  then followed him and another man to a self-storage unit in Downey, said Bell police Capt. Steven Finkelstein.

There the detectives arrested the two men and found an estimated 1,000 cases of wine with what police said was a retail price of $500,000. Authorities said the wine had been on board a tractor-trailer that was stolen in Ontario earlier in the week.

The names of the two men were not immediately released, pending further investigation and booking, but they are expected to be charged with possession of stolen property, Finkelstein said.

Theft of wine cargo is fairly common, police said, since the bottles are relatively easy to sell and difficult to track.

"Everybody likes wine," Finkelstein said, adding that detectives were trying to determine how many bottles may have been sold from the load before the men were arrested.

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-- Larry Gordon

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