Seattle man charged with stealing $650,000 worth of wine

SEATTLE -- Charges were filed Thursday against a Seattle man accused of stealing up to $650,000 worth of wine from a storage facility in Seattle's Sodo district. Another suspect is still being sought.

The wine was stolen Nov. 29 from temperature-controlled storage lockers of Esquin Wine & Spirits in the 2700 block of 4th Avenue South.

Samuel Arby Harris, 34, was charged Thursday with first-degree burglary, second-degree theft and first-degree attempted arson.

Harris remains in the King County Jail on $500,000 bail. His arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 19.

Police said two suspects spray-painted security cameras before spending more than 13 hours carting off 200 cases of wine, estimated at a $648,000 value.

When the suspects finished carting the wine to a car, they allegedly cut two gas lines in the shop's ceiling and tried to light the storage unit and corresponding shop ablaze. However, the gas failed to ignite and a building manager called 911 when he smelled gas the next day.

Firefighters called to the scene shut off the gas and recognized the lockers had been burglarized, police said.

Wine shop staff used a security camera that was not sprayed to identify the suspects as two who had previously rented a storage locker at the address. The wine crooks had previously left their home address while renting a storage locker.

Police located and arrested Harris on Monday and are searching for the other suspect.

The wine has not yet been located, police said. On Wednesday, Esquin Wine Merchants said it was offering a $20,000 reward for the safe recovery of the stolen wine.