Trial The accused of the robbery in Atrio: "Where are the bottles I wonder, if I am the thief?"

"Either it was a robbery to order, as has been said here, or we had difficulties to place the bottles on the market, that we even offered to exchange some for a Mercedes, as has also been commented

Trial The accused of the robbery in Atrio: "Where are the bottles I wonder, if I am the thief?"

"Either it was a robbery to order, as has been said here, or we had difficulties to place the bottles on the market, that we even offered to exchange some for a Mercedes, as has also been commented." Constantin Dumitru, one of the two defendants for the theft of 'film' in the cellar of the Hotel Atrio de Cáceres, has surprised today on the last day of the trial -after refusing to testify on the first day- and has proclaimed his innocence by throwing the big question mark of the case once both he and his partner, Priscila Guevara Lara, were arrested eight months after the assault: "Where are the bottles I wonder, if I am the thief, I would like to know where they are?"

The defendant, 48 years old and a Romanian-Dutch citizen, has emphasized during his speech what he considers "inconsistencies" about what happened and, above all, the accusations of guilt against them. Thus, he has highlighted that no photos or conversations alluding to the events have been found on his phones, according to his version, and has questioned the expert evidence presented at trial, considering that "nothing has been found ". In this sense, he has also criticized that an exclusive winery as important as Atrio, which houses such an important and million-dollar collection that included the 45 bottles stolen, did not have surveillance cameras inside. He only had it in the area of ​​access to it.

"It blows my mind to think (sic) that a five-star and two-Michelin hotel, which has a cellar of such a level, of so much wine, with historical bottles, that does not have a camera inside," the defendant criticized to add: "No we should be here. They entered my phone and nothing was found, not a photo, not a few bottles, not even negotiating; a house insurance immediately tells you to put a camera here and here so that, the day you get robbed, give you back what they are stealing from you", he reiterated.

The other defendant, the 29-year-old former Mexican miss, once again remained silent before the court, which will now have to resolve an order before issuing the sentence, since the defense lawyer, Sylvia Córdoba, has once again requested before the decision of the Provincial Court of Cáceres the "immediate" release of their clients before an acquittal: "They were not Bonnie and Clyde, but Priscila and Constantin, a happy couple who were on vacation in Croatia," he asserted. However, both the prosecutor and the insurer, in their final conclusions, have maintained their requests for a prison sentence of 4.5 and 5 years, respectively.

Although she has pointed out that there is no "direct evidence", the prosecutor in the case, Carmen Barquilla, considers that the detainees committed on October 27, 2021 a crime of robbery with force in a public establishment that is particularly serious due to the high amount of the stolen objects and their "historical value", in relation to the 1806 bottle. In addition, they also request compensation from the insurance company for the appraised value of the wines or the restitution of the bottles. In this sense, he has argued -in a speech that has lasted about 45 minutes- that there is no doubt about the authorship of the robbery and, although he has reduced the request for compensation to 753,454 euros for the insurer (which is now the owner of the bottles if they appear after the agreement with the owners of Atrio), he has maintained the same prison request as in his indictment prior to the trial.

The prosecutor considers that her request is "proportionate and adequate" since, throughout the trial, "it has been proven" that the defendants are the perpetrators of the crime of robbery, although "there is no direct proof about the authorship of the facts" but "numerous pieces of evidence" reinforced among themselves and interrelated that have been endorsed, in his opinion, by the witnesses and the expert evidence that place the defendants in room 107 of the Atrio hotel on the night of the events.

Thus, it has considered the DNA, the fingerprint, the comparison of the telephones, the ownership of the car used and the security recordings to demonstrate that the people who occupied that room were the ones who committed the robbery, dividing the papers for it. The woman called the receptionist on two occasions to ask him for food and then a few minutes later a dessert, in order to remove him from the reception post. On his part, the man, around 1:30 p.m. at night, took the opportunity to go down to the cellar from where he came out with a backpack and two bags that "apparently weighed a lot," according to the prosecutor.

The viewing of the security cameras at that time could not be seen by the court due to technical problems in a test that the Prosecutor's Office itself had requested. In addition, the prosecutor recalled that a DGT camera located the defendants a few hours later on the A5 towards Madrid from Cáceres. Finally, the representative of the Public Ministry has defended that the investigation has been "scrupulous with the rights of the accused" and the tests have been carried out with total neatness, which has given rise to "multiple indications" that distort the presumption of innocence .

The private prosecution, represented by the lawyer for the Reale insurance company, Rafael Mateos, has indicated that the expert opinion on the value of the bottles "has been objective" and has claimed the amount of 753,454 euros, which was the amount compensated to the owners of Atrio , and the restitution of the stolen bottles.

For her part, the defense lawyer for the defendants, Sylvia Córdoba, has requested the annulment of the case due to the "numerous irregularities" that have occurred in the investigation of the case and in the investigation by the Police, which according to her version has not obtained "not a single piece of evidence" but evidence that would not lead to a conviction. Córdoba has defended that in any case it would be a theft because it has not been proven that the warehouse was entered because an Atrio employee has assured in the trial that when he arrived in the morning to join his work shift the access door to the cellar was open and it has remained that his request for drug use by his clients has not been admitted, which could be mitigating.

In her conclusions, the lawyer has defended that the fundamental rights of the defendants have been violated and has described as "disproportionate" the "indiscriminate" request for the traffic of telephone calls on the night of the events in the surroundings of the hotel, something that has could also violate privacy, has denounced "thousands of Cáceres" who live in the area. In addition, she has denounced that the chain of custody of the defendants' phones has been broken and that the complete dump of what they contained was not provided to the investigation, but rather "modified information" that was classified at the convenience of the investigators.

Regarding the evidence provided by the recordings, he has stressed that "they cannot be evaluated because they are of terrible quality", in them no one is distinguished and, moreover, they have not been able to see each other in court.

"45 bottles do not fit in two sports bags and with four towels, neither for space nor for the lightness with which that man carries them," he indicated, to also cast doubts on the magnetic card that was used to enter the winery , since it has also been known during the trial that the use of the card of room 106 where some friends of the owners of Atrio were staying. Córdoba has stressed that "there is no recording of when the person seen in the images enters, so the door "could have been open", he said. The lawyer recalled that this is how the sommelier found it the next day, so there would no longer be talk of a robbery but of a theft.

In addition, the defense lawyer has expressed that "by chance" some friends of the owners occupied room 106, whose key was used before the teacher to try to open the cellar, according to the account of the Public Ministry. Next, he questioned whether the appraiser hired by the insurer was an expert in wines, as he has said, who valued the stolen wines at 753,454.45 euros, according to the report made in February 2022 and now provided, without the invoices from the bottles, purchased around the year 2000 by Atrio.

The last session of the trial began with the statement of the expert who prepared the report for the insurance company of the Hotel Atrio and the agents of the Scientific Police who carried out the DNA and facial identification analyzes of the defendants.

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