ATLAS

Thieves steal 132 bottles of wine worth 200,000 euros from Michelin-starred restaurant in Madrid

The owners of the Coque restaurant, chef Mario Sandoval and his brothers Rafael and Diego, say the thieves knew exactly what they were looking for

JOSÉ ANTONIO GUERRERO MADRID.

Thieves broke into the exclusive Coque restaurant in Madrid’s Chamberí district in the early hours of Tuesday morning and stole 132 bottles of wine worth at least 200,000 euros. The owners of the restaurant, which has two Michelin stars, say one of the bottles was a Petrus valued at 20,000 euros and several vintage bottles of Marqués de Riscal, one of which dates back to 1925, were among those taken.

The restaurant is owned by chef Mario Sandoval and his brothers Rafael and Diego. Their wine cellar is considered one of the most valuable in Spain. “The thieves knew exactly what they were doing. They went straight for the best,” says the restaurant’s PR manager, Cristina Pérez Olmos.

The robbers gained entry from an adjoining pharmacy, which is no longer open. They tried to make a hole in the wall to climb through but when that didn't work they broke the back window of the pharmacy to get into the restaurant courtyard and forced open a door. They then disabled the burglar alarms.

The owners believe it will be difficult to get the wines back. In cases like these the robbers have normally already found buyers, but the Sandoval brothers hope that at least those responsible will be caught.

There was a similar robbery at the Atrio restaurant in Cáceres in October last year, when a couple stole 45 bottles of wine valued at 1.6 million euros. The thieves, Constantín Gabriel, 47, and Priscilla Lara Guevar, 28, were arrested in Croatia in July but no trace of the bottles has been found so far. One was an 1806 Chateau d'Yquem, which was on the restaurant’s wine list for 150,000 euros.

For that reason, Pérez Olmos is warning colleagues in the sector to take maximum precautions. “You have to be on your guard, because this is happening to other restaurants in Europe as well,” she says.