Video: Distracting thieves steal $500 in cognac


VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Two bottles of cognac worth $500 were stolen from a family-owned store in Vancouver in a crafty and calculated theft caught on surveillance video.

The theft at Liquor & Wine, 3021 NE 72nd Drive, happened around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when 3 people — a man, a woman holding a baby and a grandmother — walked in together, said Emma Kang. 

Kang said those 3 people were in the store about 6 minutes and waited for other customers to leave. The man asked an employee to answer some questions about a bottle of wine on a lower shelf, and when the employee went over, the cognac was taken.

A screen grab from a surveillance video at Liquor & Wine in Vancouver shows these 3 people coordinating to steal 2 bottes of boxed Hennessy XO cognac worth $500 on April 23, 2019 (Courtesy: Liquor & Wine in Vancouver)

“Oh, they were professionals,” Kang told KOIN 6 News. “They knew how to distract the employee. It seems like they’ve been here before because they knew where the expensive liquor was.”

While the employee was helping the man, the younger woman went behind the counter and took 2 bottles of Hennessy XO, each with a retail price of $249.99.
She put both bottle boxes inside a large pocket on her long flowing skirt, then casually walked away.

“It’s a pretty big skirt and she’s wearing a long cardigan and it was a black skirt,” Kang told KOIN 6 News. “She opened up the side and there was, like, a pocket, I guess.” The thief put both boxes in her skirt “and then just ruffled it back together.”

A screen grab from a surveillance video at Liquor & Wine in Vancouver shows this woman stealing 2 bottes of boxed Hennessy XO cognac worth $500 on April 23, 2019 (Courtesy: Liquor & Wine in Vancouver)

She said it seemed as if the thieves had it all planned.

“They were waiting for all the customers to leave,” Kang said. “Seems like they’ve been doing this a lot.”

In the end, the people didn’t buy anything, either. Kang said they went to buy some wine but when the employee asked for their ID, they said they had to get it from their car — and they left.

She also doesn’t believe the baby was real. 

“I feel like if you’re holding a real newborn baby, you would be more careful. And it just did not look real to me.”

Kang, whose family has owned Liquor & Wine for 7 years, said the incident is maddening.

“My dad works really hard to make sure he provides for his family. He’s got 4 kids, so big family,” she said. “It’s like a personal attack. Like, my dad works so hard for our family and the fact that they can just swoop in and steal something so expensive, it’s our store, our baby.”

They filed a police report and Kang posted the surveillance video on social media. 

“I hope that they get caught, that people are aware of who they are and what they do,” she said. “I just want people to know who they are to be careful, be safe and hopefully we can get justice  and they can get caught.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Vancouver police. The case number is 2319-65-97.

Surveillance video: Cognac thieves at Liquor & Wine in Vancouver

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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