NAPA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — A man was arrested on Friday after he allegedly stole thousands of dollars of wine in order to guarantee a paycheck, according to the Napa County Sheriff’s Office.
Jose Humberto Martinez was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on charges of grand theft on Friday. The week before, Martinez had been fired from shipping company Go Express, a subsidiary of GLS, a winery employee tells KRON4.
After Martinez was fired, he reportedly stole a van from his former employer and then drove to a local winery. He provided a false name to pickup a wine shipment, the winery employee said. The ruse was effective, as the winery was preparing their month’s wine club shipment and had been awaiting a pickup from GLS or Go Express.
Days passed, and the winery employees reached out to Go Express and GLS several times after they realized the wine was missing. The shipping companies did not inform the winery that a van had been stolen or that the wine had been stolen, and neither shipping company filed a stolen vehicle report, the winery employee said.
“I was tearing my hair out for a week, they kept blowing it off or saying they would escalate it to upper management,” the winery employee told KRON4. The wine shipment included all bottles scheduled to go out to customers in Nevada and California for the month of March, worth around $12,000.
Finally, after not receiving any information from the shipping company, the winery employee filed a police report. She says they heard from police only 15 minutes later that the van had been found with the wine still inside. The Napa County Sheriff’s office says that Martinez held the wine in an attempt to guarantee his final paycheck form his former employer, Go Express. He is now facing additional charges for taking a vehicle without consent and receiving stolen property.
KRON On is streaming now
The wine was left untouched in the back of the van for several days. Luckily, thanks to cooler temperatures, the wine is in fine condition. As for what the wine company plans to do for shipping in the future, the employee says they will be looking for a new shipping partner.
“They have not called us to apologize. We have not heard from them at all,” the employee said. KRON4 reached out to GLS and Go Express for comment on the matter, but neither company responded.