This Wednesday, after a "10 month, exhaustive investigation", Sicilian police arrested three men for stealing 230 bottles of rare vintages of fine wines worth nearly $50,000 from Ristorante Tiramisù in Taormina. Prices per bottle ranged from $200 to over $1000 each. With restaurant mark-ups, the value of the wine could have reached well over $100,000. The professional thieves managed to get past a sophisticated alarm system complete with video surveillance cameras.
But these weren't wine connoisseurs that did the deed. They didn't want to add the bottles to their own wine cellars or to drink the stuff themselves. They were holding the bottles for ransom--to the tune of about $16,000 for their safe return... otherwise, the bottles would go to an early grave.
The bottles were returned to their home in the cellars of Tiramisù, but there was no word on how they are holding up after their terrifying ordeal, or if their ten-month captivity affected their nose, flavors or colors. There was one report that one of the former captives--after having been opened--showed notes of strawberry, new-mown hay, aged oak and a surprising hint of rusted Tre Ruote, formaldehyde and woolen ski mask....
Food Crime on the Rise in Italy:
A spike in cheese theft saw robbers make off with an estimated €6 million worth of Italy's prized Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese between 2014 and 2016. The combination of high value - one 40kg wheel is typically worth €500 - and small, rural producers which aren't equipped with anti-theft seasons makes the cheese warehouses an irresistible target.
Two years ago, Ligurian police foiled an attempted heist of 29kg of Nutella, the popular chocolatey hazelnut spread, which the thieves reportedly planned to sell on the black market.