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FBI charges two in French Laundry wine theft case

Two men have been charged with transporting stolen fine wines worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, including those taken from California's French Laundry restaurant in a Christmas Day heist.

Almost 16 months to the day since burglars helped themselves to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Screaming Eagle wines in the French Laundry’s cellars, two men have been indicted for transporting some of the bottles.

FBI officers alleged that Alfred Georgis, 53, of Mountain View, and Davis Kiryakoz, 44, of Modesto, helped hundreds of wines worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to cross state borders following a string of thefts in California between March 2013 and December 2014.

The pair are alleged to have helped transport ‘high-end wines’ following three specific burglaries.

Those thefts include 100 bottles stolen from French Laundry in Yountville, Napa, another 39 wines stolen from Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino and 142 bottles taken from a San Francisco wine merchant.

Napa detectives recovered 76 of the stolen French Laundry wines in a warehouse in North Carolina, a month after the burglary.

Georgis and Kiryakoz could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, plus an order to compensate victims, if convicted of two counts of transporting stolen goods and one count of conspiracy to transport stolen goods.

However, the Attorney General’s office for northern California stressed that nothing has been proved. ‘An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,’ it said.

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