HUFFINGTON POST
10/11/2012 12:03 pm ET

George Osumi, Cellar Employee, Allegedly Replaced $3 Million-Worth Of Wine With Trader Joe's Two Buck Chuck

A California man is accused of stealing nearly $3 million in wine from a private storage locker, replacing more than 1,000 bottles of first-growth Bordeaux with Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joe's.

Complicating things is the fact that the accused, George Osumi, was stealing from Legend Cellars, where his own son, Scott Osumi, serves as president. The AP reports that the younger Osumi is cooperating with authorities.

Some reports have suggested that George Osumi himself is the owner of Legend Cellars, but OC Weekly clarifies that he was just a worker. Decanter writes that Osumi had previously been fired when it was discovered several months ago that he had embezzled money from the company.

Allegedly, Osumi broke into Legend Cellars' storage units sometime between 2008 and 2012, replacing valuable wines with less expensive ones and auctioning off the pilfered vintages. In all, he's thought to have pocketed about $600,000.

The incident makes us recall two other brazen wine thefts in recent months that, although unrelated, amounted to $356,570 in stolen bottles.

At least Eater has an optimistic spin on all this: "The upside? This is likely the best press Two Buck Chuck has received in years."

Photo by Flickr user mastermaq.

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