Police in California are on the hunt for three potential suspects seen on surveillance video who may have made off with more than 1,800 gallons of vodka from a distillery on Sunday.
The Los Angeles Police Department is reviewing surveillance footage showing three people creeping around the property of Fog Shots distillery weeks before the business was robbed.
Art Gukasyan, the company’s CEO, told Fox News that nothing was taken the night of the video. But he said he "definitely believes" those people seen on it are involved in the robbery that occurred three weeks later.
"I feel like these guys kinda scoped the place out," he said.
The robbery was likely also a bigger operation than just the three guys, Gukasyan said. He thought "they came with a bigger posse"' and "created an assembly line to get stuff out of there."
In the surveillance tape obtained by KTLA, a man with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth can be seen climbing over a fence covered with barbed wire and kicking the camera. Below him were two other people. The shot then cuts to him crawling on all fours on the building’s rooftop, where the CEO said they ripped off the airvents.
Gukasyan said an employee was in the building at the time and heard the suspects on the roof. After going outside and getting into a yelling exchange with them, the employee called the police. But the suspects were gone before police arrived, he said.
During the heist nearly a month later, the thieves made off with more than 9,000 boxes worth of merchandise that was packaged and ready to be shipped. Gukasyan said they used the company's pallet jacks to get the alcohol out of the building.
The thieves also tried to steal a 55-gallon barrel of unfinished product, he said, but were unsuccessful because of its weight. When trying to get the barrel on the machine, Gukasyan said they dropped it and spilled 14 gallons of vodka.
In total, the stolen product was worth $278,000. But that doesn't account for the time and money involved in creating the alcohol, the CEO said.
Gukasyan told Fox News that the thieves gained access to the building after sawing through the dead bolt on the steel front door, as well as the store front door. Next to the entrance is the phrase, "Please do the right thing," which evidently did not stop the burglars.
They also rippped a motion sensor off the wall, but inadvertantly tripped an alarm, alerting police and Gukasyan to their presence.
But in what he called "complete luck," authorities were unable to reach the building for more than an hour because of a drag race nearby. Gukasyan said he was the first to arrive on the scene, with the thieves long gone.
The roof remained completely untouched during the robbery, he said.
Gukasyan said the company has insurance so their losses are expected to be covered but the incident affects them through the year, as the stolen alcohol was expected to get them through much of 2018.
He also said the company was "left kind of in the air" for the holiday season.
Another issue he noted was the possibility that the looters could try to sell the stolen alcohol to underage kids. All of the bottles can be tracked and therefore can't be sold across state lines or across the border, he said.
"At the end of the day... the guys who took this product have no idea what they're doing because you can't do anything with it," Gukasyan said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.