Napa wine thieves found with narcotics arrested after $4,000 heist

Napa Police are investigating a theft Monday night that netted $4,000 worth of high-end wines.

"It's expensive wine, it's really good wine, and it has a high resale value," said Napa Police Sgt. Amy Hunter.

"So it doesn't surprise me that it would be targeted."

Police were called after witnesses saw the suspected thieves trying to get away from the Nob Hill Foods store on Trancas Avenue. "I was very shaken up," said a witness who didn't want to be identified. She said she saw the men run out of the store to a getaway car. One of the suspects didn't catch his ride. "They took off and they were dragging him as the car was moving."

That suspect, 54-year-old Cong Thrinh Nguyen of San Jose was arrested at the store. Napa Sheriff's deputies arrested two other suspects, 51-year-old Phu Nguyen and 37-year-old Chi Ung of San Jose, after pulling over their car near Highways 29 and 121.

Police said there was much more than the 12 bottles of wine stolen from Nob Hill Foods in the car.

"They had 60 bottles of wine, high-end wine that was inside the passenger area of the vehicle and in the trunk" Sgt. Hunter explained. "In addition to a fair amount of narcotics."

The men face charges of burglary, grand theft, drug possession and possession for sale, and criminal conspiracy.

Police are looking into whether the recent heist is connected to others in Napa and possibly other counties in the Bay Area, and whether the wine was intended for sale online, or to be sent overseas.
Sgt. Hunter said police have arrested others for similar crimes and that the suspects have all been Asian men from San Jose.

"That's what we're looking into whether these specific people are involved, or whether it's tied to a bigger series of instances," like a criminal ring, said Hunter. "That's what we're looking into."