ENGLEWOOD - As we countdown to Christmas and the New Year, local liquor stores are keeping a close eye on their bottles of bubbly.
A champagne thief was caught on camera in Englewood, stealing nearly $1,100 worth of the bubbly in a matter of minutes.
Steven Antonio, general manager and buyer for Kent Cellars Wine and Spirits on the 3400 block of South University Boulevard, says surveillance video of the suspect indicates he knew exactly what to do.
"I think he knew what he was after. He seemed to dial right in on the champagne," Antonio said.
Video shows the suspect walking in, waiting for a clerk who was mopping the floor to turn away, and then putting the bottle down his pants.
"[He was] wearing clothes that were appropriate for trying to steal things, loose fitting clothes," Antonio said.
The champagne thief even struck up a conversation with the clerk before leaving, then returning to the store to steal even more.
"He stole one bottle, saw how easy it was, then came back and saw how people were distracted and helped himself to two more," Antonio said.
The video shows him taking three bottles in 15 minutes.
He stole a $260 Roederer Cristal, a $260 Pol Roger, and the most expensive bottle in the store, a $550 Salon Blanc de blanc.
The stolen champagne is worth almost $1,100.
"It's really hard on a small business, amazingly hard," Antonio said. "People are much more aware and on their guard now."
Just last week, six bottles of a rare French wine, valued at more than $4,000, disappeared from the wine cellar at the Brown Palace.
Recovering the 2000 Château Petrus is unlikely.
"It's kind of disheartening," Antonio said.
Antonio hopes someone will recognize the champagne thief.
He's 5'8" with an average build, dark hair and eyes, and a Mediterranean accent.
"It is the holidays and champagne is what people are looking for," Antonio said.
The store is sending photos of the champagne thief to other businesses and warning them to be on alert.
Englewood police are investigating.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)