The VICE Guide to Right Now

Thieves Snuck into the Paris Catacombs and Stole $300K Worth of Fine Wine

In what could very well be the most French crime of all time.

by River Donaghey
Aug 30 2017, 9:51pm

Imagen via Michael Reeve/Wikicommons

The catacombs beneath Paris are a twisting maze of dark, claustrophobic passageways lined with ancient skulls and bones, but apparently they're not terrifying enough to ward off a band of French crooks hellbent on committing a lucrative wine heist.

According to the Guardian, some thieves reportedly snuck down into the catacombs—which stretch 170 miles beneath streets, homes, and apartments in the French capital—on Monday night. Apparently, the crooks had located an area of the ancient tomb that shared a wall with the inside of an apartment's private cellar. They then allegedly burrowed through the centuries-old, limestone wall and made off with around 300 bottles of rare wine. Police say the haul is likely worth upwards of $300,000.

Authorities believe the thieves probably scoped out the fancy wine stash in the basement of the home before hatching their complicated Ocean's Eleven-style heist to steal it.

"We believe they must have made visits [to the cellar] before," a police spokesman said, according to the Guardian. "The suspects didn't drill that particular wall by accident."

The scheme must have been pretty well-organized, since it's easy to get lost inside the underground catacombs, especially with hundreds of bottles—around 60 gallons—of booze in tow. Earlier this summer, two teenagers got lost in the tunnels for days and almost died of hypothermia before they were rescued.

Between the frigid temperatures and the fact that roughly 6 million remains are housed in the catacombs, only a small stretch is open to tourists. The forbidden areas likely served as a perfect getaway route for the thieves, unafraid they would run into anyone in the dark, empty tunnels.

The wine crooks are currently still at large, probably sniffing the corks on a few bottles and spitballing ways to fence them without getting caught.