Italian police arrest suspected wine and cheese gang
Italian police have arrested several suspected fine wine and cheese thieves and released a video of a gang stealing wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano in the north of the country.
Police arrested 10 people in the city of Modena yesterday (21 March) and were still seeking at least one other suspect, officials said.
The arrests are part of ‘Operation Wine and Cheese‘, which is seeking to tackle a string of thefts that have seen an estimated 100,000 euros of fine wine disappear and 168 wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano, worth around 80,000 euros.
Police took the unusual step of releasing a Youtube video showing CCTV footage of a gang stealing whole wheels of cheese, believed to be Parmigiano Reggiano.
All of the thefts took place in 2015 and 2016, said police in a brief statement.
Officers have been investigating an organised crime ring in and around Modena and believe that a fixer with insider information on local farms had been orchestrating the thefts.
‘He was passing the right information to the rest of the gang, who then performed the hit,’ police said.
Officers got a lucky break in the case when a van carrying some of the suspected stolen wine crashed and overturned in the Puglia region.
Parmigiano Reggiano has previously been a target of the Italian mafia, with reports several years ago of gangs stealing lorry-loads of the cheese close to the Italian-French border.
Fine wine thefts have become a fixture of the modern wine world, in part because of the high value of the best products.