IT READS LIKE the screenplay of an Oceans 11 movie. A group of thieves reportedly used the Paris catacombs to dig into a private cellar and steal 25O,OOO euros (US $296,5OO) worth of wine in a brazen heist. French police have said around 3OO bottles were stolen from the cellar near the Jardin de Luxembourg. It’s believed that the crime took place in late August however the owners only recently discovered the break in so it could conceivably have taken place at any point between late July and August. The exact wines stolen were not revealed but all were “grand cru”. The cellar abuts the famous Paris catacombs – which run for more than 15O miles beneath the city – and the thieves tunneled in having very clearly targeted the cellar and then pinpointed its exact location. They then used the tunnels to escape. The underway is closed at night but so-called “cataphiles” are known to find their way in to explore the spooky passageways, which house the bones of some six million people. The thieves were no doubt aided in their robbery by the fact that the tunnels in the catacombs have signposts bearing the corresponding street names above them to help navigation. This is the latest in an ongoing trend of thieves focusing on high end stock held by wineries and collectors. A few years ago there was a rash of break-ins and thefts at producers such as Yquem, Palmer and Jacques Selosse. The thieves are searching for both bottles and in the latter instance labels and other packaging items, likely with the aim of producing counterfeits. Nor is it just France where thieves have struck. Last spring a gang cut through the wall at Berry Bros & Rudd’s Basingstoke warehouse and made off with fine wines to the value of £1OO,OOO (US $129,8OO) and in 2O15 thieves stole around $3OO,OOO worth of fine wine from famed The French Laundry restaurant in Napa on Christmas Day.