Reward offered in $1.1 million vodka heist

Courtesy ABC News

By Alana Abramson

Authorities are offering a $5,000 reward for information about the theft of $1.1 million worth of an expensive brand of vodka.

The company claims that it is one of the most expensive types of vodka in the world and has a 24-carat gold logo. It sells for anywhere from $250 to $300 in liquor stores in Florida and Los Angeles where it is marketed in the U.S. In nightclubs it can cost as much as $1,200.

The Miami Dade Police Department report on the heist took place from 11:05 p.m. to 11:47 p.m. on June 22.  A police spokesperson said they are still investigating in the incident.

Surveillance video shows a team of  masked thieves who arrived at a Miami warehouse  in a Mercedes Benz and a small fleet of cars, vans and a truck , and leaving with  752 cases of  Spirit of the Tsars Golden Vodka, according to the company.

The thieves broke through a hole in the warehouse, Nick Betancourt, the spokesperson for the company, told ABC News.

Mark Owens, the president of the company, said he watched surveillance videos of that night showing five men with masks exiting a white Mercedez Benz. Owens said the car's license plate was covered.

"The way this transpired, it was clearly a professional job," Owens told ABCNews. "There was a buyer that sent them to get that product, and then they delivered the product, got the money and that was the end of it."

Betancourt said the name of the warehouse has not been identified to protect it further theft.


The vodka has been popular in Middle East and European countries, but the company has only been selling the product in America for a year, Betancourt said. The company produces 10,000 bottles annually, 5,000 of which they were planning to sell in the United States. The 752 bottles amounted to about 20 percent of the company's domestic stock.

Owens said the theft impeded their plans for expansion.

"The loss is that we're limited in production," he said.  "We were attempting to expand into New York and that will have to wait until next year because we don't have any vodka for this year."


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