Skip to main content

Originally published Friday, November 2, 2012 at 9:18 PM

  • Share:
  • Comments (34)
  • Print

4 men nabbed buying stolen alcohol

Seattle police have arrested four men they say purchased alcohol they knew was stolen from area stores.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
I think there might have been a bit of a rush to treat alcohol like any other grocery s... MORE
These stores need to carefully plan their layout and traffic flow in order to reduce... MORE
problem is, there are a lot of thieves walking the streets anymore who will steal... MORE


A Seattle police sting targeting people who buy alcohol stolen from area retailers resulted in the arrests of four men this week.

Assistant Police Chief Jim Pugel said the four men bought alcohol from a shoplifter for about one-quarter to one-third of retail value.

About 457 bottles of stolen liquor were recovered from the home of one suspect, he said, and hundreds of bottles were found in the cars of two others.

The suspects were described as the owner of a flower shop at Pike Place Market, two parking valets and an 18-year-old who told police he sold his haul to minors.

The men have not been charged, and their names have not been released.

According to police, the two-month investigation was launched in September after a prolific alcohol thief was arrested.

That person, who said it was not atypical for him to steal $30,000 to $40,000 worth of liquor a month, was willing to cooperate with police as a confidential informant because he was facing felony theft charges and significant prison time, Pugel said.

After the state privatized liquor sales in June, novice retailers began reporting a huge loss from liquor thefts, Pugel said.

In addition to buying alcohol they believed stolen, the men arrested on Thursday also placed orders with the confidential informant and undercover police officers for "some of the most expensive (liquor) on the market," Pugel said.

Pugel said the suspects have no connections to each other and that, so far, police have not uncovered evidence that legitimate bars or restaurants were involved in the purchase of stolen liquor.

Many retailers are now learning to protect their wares by locking up the higher-priced liquors, moving the liquor shelves away from the exits or increasing security, he said.

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon