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3 men accused of stealing more than $200K in wine from Houston store

FILE - In this Oct.3 2019 file photo, wine bottles are seen in a wine shop in Paris. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu, File)
FILE - In this Oct.3 2019 file photo, wine bottles are seen in a wine shop in Paris. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

HOUSTON – Three men are accused of stealing more than $200,000 worth of wine from a Houston store and reselling it to a store in California “for profit,” according to documents filed in court.

Jaime Javier Cortes along with two accomplices — 64-year-old Luis Ovalle and 41-year-old Anthony Earl Thomas — are facing felony charges after police say between February and June, they intermittently stole bottles of wine from Liquid Assets at 1120 Knox Street.

The owner of the store reported the thefts in June. Police reviewed surveillance footage of the men breaking in and got a list of times they used an access code to enter the store. Through investigations, they identified Cortes as one of the suspects.

When they questioned Cortes, police say he admitted to stealing the bottles of wine and then reselling them “for profit” to Fog City Wine, a store in Novato, California. Police say Cortes named Ovalle as one of his accomplices and one of the men seen in the surveillance footage.

When police questioned Ovalle, they say he too admitted to the thefts and also named Thomas as the other man with him in the surveillance footage. Thomas too admitted to the theft, according to an affidavit filed in court.

Liquid Assets and Fog City Wine provided police with lists of the stolen bottles of wine and police had the list appraised by a wine expert who estimated their value at $201,069.

All three men face felony charges in connection with the thefts, police say.


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