Couple jailed for stealing $1.7m worth of wine

A former Mexican beauty queen and her partner have been jailed in Spain for four years for stealing 45 bottles of wine worth an estimated $1.7m (£1.4m).

The incident happened in 2021 at a luxury hotel in the Spanish city of Cáceres, where the couple were staying as guests.

BBC reports the couple later fled, but they were arrested nine months later at the Croatia-Montenegro border and returned to Spain.

None of the wine has been recovered.

The court named the couple only as Tatania and Estanislao, but they have been identified by Spanish media as Priscila Guevara and Constantín Dumitru.

According to the court, Tatania checked into the exclusive Atrio hotel in October 2021 using a fake Swiss passport.

She was later joined by Estanislao and they both enjoyed a 14-course meal at the property's Michelin star restaurant, followed by a guided tour of the wine cellar.

Estanislao then returned in the early hours of the following morning to raid the cellar using a stolen key, which the court suggested he took from reception while Tatania provided a distraction.

One of the bottles of wine, which were stuffed into their backpacks, had a unique 19th Century vintage and is reported to have been worth €350,000 (£310,000).

The theft sparked an international police hunt that ended in July when the pair were caught while trying to cross into Croatia.

According to the El País newspaper, the pair had reportedly visited the restaurant at least three times beforehand in order to prepare for the robbery.

The couple have also been ordered to pay more than €750,000 to insurers in damages.

Their sentences are not yet final and the couple will have the opportunity to appeal them.