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Utah thieves steal 1,229 cases of booze but don't drink a drop

Published July 30, 2013 3:33 pm

Crime • Truck's owner used GPS to track movements.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Call it the case of the baffling booze heist.

Who stole a truck containing 1,229 cases of booze from a West Valley City parking lot, drove it to Woods Cross, unloaded it in another trailer and then left it behind?

And who, police wonder, expended all that effort without partaking of a single drop of the illicit haul valued at $200,000?

Tuesday, the liquor had been reunited with its rightful owner — a tractor trailer company that was hauling the booze cross-country to Florida, including a stopover in Utah, said Woods Cross police Cpl. Jason Matthews.

"It's all been returned to the owner," Matthews said.

The uncommon case started Friday night when someone decided to steal the semitruck and trailer full of booze from a West Valley City parking lot.

The thieves then apparently drove the truck to Woods Cross, where they off-loaded all 1,229 cases of liquor into their own trailer — which was not registered — locked it up tight and left it behind. They then abandoned the stolen truck and trailer somewhere in Salt Lake County, Matthews said.

The thieves apparently did not count on the trucking company's wily owner, who activated the semitrailer's GPS system and retraced the truck's movements. The owner then sent employees to follow the truck's trail with instructions to focus on areas where it had been stopped.

Police found the trailer on Monday, got a search warrant and found the booze inside. Every bottle was accounted for and not a drop of liquor had been drunk, Matthews said.

"We were surprised," Matthews said. "We figured there'd at least be a little missing."

The investigation into the incident continued Tuesday.

Matthews said the majority of the stolen liquor was tequila, but there were other types in the shipment as well.

jstecklein@sltrib.com

Twitter: @sltribjanelle