Police have arrested two men accused of stealing almost $250,000 worth of wine from a Branford wine distributor.
In June 2014, the president of Murphy Distributors contacted police to report that wine was missing from the warehouse so police began investigating and learned that around $248,000 worth of wine exclusively sold by the distributor had been taken since January 2014.
Police conducted several interviews, obtained search warrants for telephone records and identified the company's warehouse manager, Richard Worthington, 29, of Branford and David Moon, 28, of East Haven, as suspects.
Worthington is the only employee other than the business owner who has keys to both warehouses, according to the owner, who told police a friend tipped him off to the alleged thefts.
In May 2014, a friend called him to report someone was offering merchandise Murphy Distributors has the exclusive rights to sell, so the owner started paying closer attention to his inventory.
He noticed that six cases of 2010 Revana Cabernet Sauvignon were delivered the warehouse, but one case was missing a few weeks later.
An audit of the inventory released that $248,500.33 worth of wine disappeared between July 2013 and June 2014, according to court documents.
In July 2014, another company official noticed some of the exclusive wine at a Branford restaurant and that sale was linked to Moon, according to the arrest warrant application.
Police then applied for search warrants for Worthington and Moon's phones and found evidence of 66 communications between the two men.
When authorities searched Moon's phone in December, they noted that they found photos of wine that Murphy Distributor sells exclusively, as well as lists of different types of wine, according to police.
Police arrested Moon on July 17 and charged him with first-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny in the first degree. Moon is not connected to the business, according to police.
He was released on a $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in New Haven Court on July 28.
Police said an arrest warrant has been issued for Worthington, who is currently incarcerated for an unrelated incident. He will be charged with first-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny in the first degree, police said.
Police and the owner of Murphy and police are asking for the public’s help. If the back of a wine label says “Do Valle LLC,” it belongs to the company and might be stolen if you didn’t buy it from Murphy. It is against state law to buy liquor from someone who isn’t licensed.
Police are investigating and said other arrests are possible.