Thieves Use Paris Catacombs Route to Raid a Private Wine Cellar

Vlastimil Juricek, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
Vlastimil Juricek, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0 / Vlastimil Juricek, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

The catacombs that run beneath Paris simultaneously function as a mass burial site and a popular tourist attraction. Sometime in the night between August 28 and 29, a team of thieves found a different use for the underground network. As The Guardian reports, they descended into the tunnels before drilling into a private wine cellar and raiding its contents.

According to local police, the offenders got off with 300 bottles of vintage wine priced at over €250,000 (about $300,000) all together. The items were stolen from the basement of a luxury apartment near Paris's Luxembourg Gardens. After entering the catacombs illegally, the thieves were able to identify the wall they needed to access and, after boring a hole through the limestone, climbed inside the wine cellar and took what they pleased. A spokesman for the police believe the perpetrators were likely familiar with the site of the crime beforehand, telling the French media they "didn’t drill that particular wall by accident."

The majority of Paris’s catacombs are off-limits to the public, and the small portion that does see visitors is always closed at night. But so-called "cataphiles" have found their own ways to get into the tunnels by taking secret routes through the Metro, some manholes, and the sewer system. Trespassers don't always come with a nefarious purpose in mind, though: They might be there to watch a movie at the catacombs' secret cinema or take a dip in one of Paris's underground swimming pools.

[h/t The Guardian]