An ongoing investigation in Florida is shedding light on a daring heist in which burglars made off with over $1.6 million worth of alcohol from the Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC), a major distributor that carries renowned brands such as Jose Cuervo, Malibu, Franzia Wines, and Sutter Home Winery.
The theft occurred during the early morning hours of July 8 and was recently detailed in an unsealed search warrant obtained by CNN on October 5. The RNDC, located in Hillsborough County just south of Tampa, fell victim to the audacious heist, which involved the removal of a staggering 4,277 cases of liquor.
The search warrant, issued for an Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max, highlights that authorities believe the phone could contain critical information and technical data that would serve as evidence for the burglary and grand theft.
The culprits referred to as “unknown suspects” in the document, didn’t stop at the alcohol; they also made off with the digital video recorders used for video surveillance by the alcohol distributor.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office took swift action, leveraging surveillance video from nearby businesses and a convenience store to identify the tractor-trailers used in the heist. This led them to discover additional surveillance footage from a tractor-trailer storage facility, revealing the three vehicles employed to make off with the stolen cases of alcohol.
RNDC, headquartered in Gibsonton, Florida, is one of the largest wine and spirits distributors in the United States, boasting 14,000 employees spread across 38 states and Washington, D.C., according to the company’s website.
Kanchan Kinkade, the vice president of corporate communications for RNDC, acknowledged the ongoing investigation but refrained from providing further comments, emphasizing that they have confidence in law enforcement’s dedication to resolving the case.
“While we are unable to comment at this time because this is an active law enforcement investigation, we have confidence that law enforcement is handling this matter seriously and taking all necessary steps to find the perpetrators of this crime,” Kanchan Kinkade, vice president of corporate communications for RNDC, told CNN.
This audacious heist is a stark reminder of the lengths to which criminals will go to obtain high-value merchandise. Authorities remain committed to apprehending the culprits and ensuring they face the consequences of their actions.