By Vince Gerasole

CHICAGO (CBS)—A Lakeview property owner who rented out his condo says he returned to find nearly $50,000 in bottles of upscale wine stolen, among many other items.

When Andrew Reese came home after the end of the rental period, he found his condo had been not only burglarized, but also trashed.

“They just had wine and food—it was sprayed all over,” Reese said.

The renters stole pots and pans, electronics, and even a toilet seat.

The costliest loss, however, was the wine.

Reese had secured his wine collection in a locked storage closet before the renters came in, but a locked door didn’t stop them from getting in.

They jimmied the lock, Reese says, and accessed his roughly 50 bottles of  investment wines, most of them worth upwards of $50, he says.

“There was one bottle of wine that was $8,000-$9,000,” he said.

Reese filed a police report, but also decided to take on the role of detective himself.

The thieves had used a stolen credit card to check in to the rental, so he needed another way to track them down.

So he logged into his Netflix app, where he found an email address that wasn’t his.

That’s when Reese became a cyber detective.

“I matched the picture on his Facebook page to the video on our security cameras,” he said.

Security cameras planted around his property captured a group of people coming and going with little luggage. The images also show children visiting the condo.

At the end of their stay, the thieves are seen on video carting his stuff away—in his own luggage.

“I’ve been watching all of these people’s Facebook pages, and one of them posted a very unique item from our unit,” Reese said.

After a little searching, Reese found his prized $8,000 bottle of wine—The Beast from Napa’s Delgado winery. The limited edition wines are only sold to members of the winery, Reese said.

“This isn’t something you can buy at Binny’s or a high-end liquor or wine store,” Reese said.

He gave the information to the police, but no one was arrested, he said.

Adding to his frustrations is the lack of coverage from insurance, which typically doesn’t cover theft from a short-term rental.

 

 

 

 

Vince Gerasole